MOORE — The Cubs Cafe and Coffee Shop, one end of Central Junior High's media center, was to be a cozy, intimate setting where parents and students could gather to hear poetry written by seventh- and eighth-graders.
But as it got closer to starting time Tuesday, the seats filled up and people were still coming in.
Principal David Peak decided it was time to move to the cafeteria, where there was more room.
“It's a great problem to have,” he said, looking around at the estimated 200 people who filled the cafeteria. A fraction of that number attended last year's event, he said.
The poetry reading was highly anticipated, said Susan Curtis, reading specialist and literacy coach at the school. “They've been talking about it all week,” she said.
It helped that teachers offered extra credit to students who attended, Curtis said.
Copies of a 41-page student poetry anthology were available so guests could follow along.
Tobyn Moreno, an eighth-grader who helped put together the anthology, has two short poems in the booklet: “Past and Future” and “So Very Sorry.”
“I put a lot of feeling into my writing,” Tobyn said. “I vent my feelings.” Some of his inspiration comes from country music, he said.
Eighth-grader Jerrod Cooper drew applause and cheers after his reading of a poem about pop singer Justin Bieber in a poem called “The Fool of All Time.”
The poem begins, “Justin Bieber/What a fake/a fool you make/you write songs to kids/but you're just a kid yourself ...”
Jerrod said he was nervous in front of everyone but “once I started it, I got into it. Then it wasn't so hard.”
Peak said he was encouraged to see the students' enthusiasm for sharing their poetry.
“It's not an easy thing to get junior high students to express some of their innermost feelings,” he said.
Curtis said free verse, in which the lines don't have to rhyme, is an inviting format for students. Getting started can be tough, but “I think they find a way to dive in.”
Three short poems that appear in this year's poetry anthology produced by students at Central Junior High School in Moore:
By Tobyn Moreno
none of us can afford.
We must learn from it, but we cannot live there.
It is impossible to plan for the now — the present is ever fleeting.
The future is what we must plan for.
By Liyah Ingram
I could be an angel, just without a halo.
Just because I'm black doesn't mean I'd steal from you.
Did you not get that clue?
Just because I'm black doesn't mean you should judge me.
God created us all equally!
By Stacy Bobo
It would be dark gray,
As lifeless as a zombie.
If depressed was a taste,
It would be just like celery.
If depressed was a smell,
It would be as nasty as a trash can.
If depressed was a sound,
It would be as loud as a child's scream!