Testimonials

On Feb. 13th, 2014 at our Winter Showcase we administered an anonymous survey asking parents, other family members and friends of the family to rate the impact of the Spoken Word Club on students. Using a 1-5 scale (1 being very negative impact - 5 being very positive impact - 3 no impact) participants were asked to rate spoken words impact on their students in four categorIes: Academics-Behavioral/Discipline-Self-confidence-Attitude/Motivation.  We received 31 surveys back.  

100 % Saw a very postive impact on self confidence.

97 % Saw a very positive impact on attitude/motivation.

94 % Saw a positive impact Academics with 71 %  saying it was very positive .

90 % saw a positive impact on behavioral/discipline with 71 % saying it was very  positive.

I spent the greater half of my high school experience feeling very trapped in the world of education. Although I was always a good student, earning almost entirely A’s and B’s throughout my time at OPRF, I found very little connection between the things I was studying and the life that was meant to follow high school. I had no sense of what I wanted to do after leaving Oak Park, and the daily classroom experience offered no real answer to these questions...

I was first introduced to Mr. Kahn and the Spoken Word Club as an alternative afterschool activity after I was cut from the high school basketball team my junior year. Before joining the Spoken Word Club I was completely dedicated to the idea of being a basketball player; although, in retrospect, my small stature and limited athleticism was eventually going to interrupt that dream. As Mr. Kahn will tell you, I was not exceptionally gifted as a poet when first joining the club, but I had discovered a dedication to growth that had been unmatched by anything excluding basketball in my life. I wanted to be better than all of the amazing poets we were reading and studying in the club, and I was more than willing to sacrifice my time and effort towards reaching that goal...

After high school I went on to study at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor helping to develop a Spoken Word Club on campus, as well as competing and performing as a member of a number of Spoken Word troupes in the Michigan area...

The skills of The Spoken Word Club have continued to evolve in my life beyond the world of high school. I know that without the endless support and instruction of Mr. Kahn none of this would have been possible. His Spoken Word club provided much more than simply an afterschool activity for me, it created purpose in my life, and helped me discover a voice that would have never existed without the aid of poetry writing and performance...

I first met Peter Kahn my junior year of high school.  It was 1998.  He was my American Literature teacher.  In class I was, at best, a good sleeper…when I was there.  I was never a bad kid.  Teachers liked me.  I just didn’t do things they wanted me to do like homework.  Or any work.  I liked to rap. I definitely loved words.  So when Peter saw me, the kid who was unreachable and unmotivated, light up he knew there was something to it...

When a young person is given the opportunity to stand up in front of their parents, teachers, peers, friends and tell their story in a safe space it is a powerful thing.  Through spoken word I found a new, accepting, creative and exciting community. I found a sense of confidence entirely new to me.  I found myself and felt like I was worth something.  I found my voice.  I found a home in the word.  I found myself with a community, a pen and a stage...

I’m 30 years old now. .. I have performed in 5 countries. I’ve been on HBO.  I was the opening act at the largest poetry slam in history in Hamburg, Germany for a crowd of 5,000.  I’ve lead more poetry and performance workshops in schools, universities, community centers, group homes, libraries, museums, coffee shops, and open mics.  Not only did I learn to write, but also a hunger to continue my education, constantly edit and improve my writing, and then share that knowledge with others.  I found a calling and career I owe to a teacher that took the time to reach out to a shy lazy high school junior.  Meeting Peter Kahn and discovering poetry gave me an identity and changed the direction of the rest of my life...

In all honesty, Spoken Word has saved me; it has saved my sanity, my heart, my relationships and my mind. I have always felt that in a sense that I was cursed with some demons having experienced so much pain at such a young age, but I took full advantage of poetry and spoken word and it held my hand throughout my experiences—good and bad... 

Writing has immensely impacted me as a student. I feel as if I blew through high school fairly easily because of the confidence and skills that I built through Spoken World Club. I remember being able to incorporate creative writing into my papers and creative assignments and my high school teachers absolutely loved it. The exposure I had through Spoke Word Club allowed me to stick out in my classes especially ones where I did much reading and writing. I was trained to have such deep analytical skills that it allowed me to read between the lines in many of my heavy reading and writing classes. Spoken Word Club also affected my attendance in high school because I actually looked forwards to writing with my peers after school that school attendance became a priority...

Mr. Kahn has also heavily affected me as a student and a person. He was a mentor, writing coach and a father figure to me throughout highs school, and he still is throughout college. I have always been impressed with his on 100% dedication to my academics, writing and well-being. He is one of the main reasons why I was able to survive high school. Knowing my background, Mr. Kahn helped shape my voice as a writer and saw something bigger in me than I have seen myself. Entering high school, I lacked confidence, but leaving high school, I grew a confident character because of Mr. Kahn and Spoken World Club. Because of Mr. Kahn’s support, I was able to enter college with my head held high... 

I am currently attending Connecticut College on a full tuition leadership scholarship through the Posse Foundation. I went through many interview processes my junior year of high school to compete for this scholarship and I owe the confidence I had throughout my scholarship process to my participation in Spoken World Club. I changed drastically in my high school years into this person with poise, personality and passion. In my interview process I always mentioned my leadership roles in Spoken Word Club and the opportunities I was able to have due to it; the Posse Foundation was impressed with my answers and articulation. Months after the series of interviews and essay writing, I remember going home after Spoken Word Club and receiving the letter about my amazing scholarship and Mr. Kahn was the first person I called to tell the news. I know that I would never have been able to compete against almost 2000 students across the city unless I had the extensive exposure I had with the club. Working in a group, speaking in front of a crowd, competing and articulating answers come naturally to me now after my four years having been in Spoken Word Club... 

Many of my personal accomplishments have come directly from my involvement in Spoken Word Club. I have been on OPRFHS Slam Team twice in my high school career where I was able to work with 5 group members and Mr. Kahn to develop individual slam poems and group pieces. As a team we have done amazingly well; we placed 2nd in the Louder than a Bomb poetry festival and our second time competing as a team in LTAB, we came extremely close to making it to finals. Due to my involvement with Spoke Word and Slam Team I have been named an All Star and competed in the Brave New Voices poetry festival...

I have also been published in Youth Voice Nation 2011, Women In Redzine 2011, GirlSpeak Webzine 2010-2011 and 2008-2009 and Blacklight Magazine 2008-2009. I have been able to win various poetry slams and writing competition due to my four years involvement in the club and work with Mr. Kahn...