LaFollette fourth grader to shine at national poetry slam in New York

April 14, 2016

CBS 58

By Marshanna Hester

Milwaukee – A local fourth grader is taking her talents to New York City.

She’s been chosen to represent Milwaukee in the America Scores National Poetry Slam.

“She has great heart,” said Jen Taff, social worker LaFollette School. “She has a lot of leadership skills.”

It’s those skills that made Pashia Bowens,10, perfect for Taff’s soccer team.

“She can put me anywhere and I would be good in there,” Bowens said.

The sport goes hand-in-hand with her poetry.

“It sounds like a weird combination, right?” said Taff.

But, she said it’s a winning combination through America Scores Milwaukee.

The national program that started in 1994 has been at Milwaukee Public Schools since 2004. Serving about 150 inner city kids, the after school program uses soccer and poetry to create a positive learning environment.

“They’re learning how to express their emotions, say what they’re feeling, what it feels like to have a voice,” Taff said.

Bowens said her poetry is about her family, coaches and teammates.

“I’m going to be around a lot of people,” she said. “I’m going to be on stage and that makes me nervous.”

Nervous, maybe because this time, she’ll be talking about herself.

“It’s about I am,” said Bowens.

“We asked her to tap into her senses. If you were a sound what would you be? Taff said. “She took that and ran with it.”

We asked Bowens to recite her original poem.

I am pink glitter because it sparkles, just like me.
I am a giraffe because my mom says I’m so tall.
I am Friday because the weekend finally starts, so I can go to sleep and play the game with my brother.
I am an all-star shoe because they come in high tops and low tops depending on my mood.
I am proud that I have family and friends who take care of me.
I am the sound of birds chirping outside my window that helps me calm down when I’m hurt.
In 20 years, I will be in college getting my education. That’s how I can make the world a better place.
Proud, protected and passionate,
I am Pashia.”

“I’m so proud of her,” said Taff. “I could just burst, I’m so proud of her.”

Bowens and Taff will spend three days in New York City. They’ll do some sight seeing and play soccer before the poetry slam on Monday night. You can watch it here starting at 6 p.m. central time.