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Slam Champs x 3: LHS first slam team in Nebraska to win three State Championships

Left+to+Right%3A+Samantha+Robyler%2C+Anthony+Delaney%2C+Jack+Buchanan%2C+and+Karina+Hinkley+celebrate+their+state+championship+win+at+the+Louder+Than+a+Bomb+Great+Plains+slam+poetry+competition+on+Tuesday%2C+April+24%2C+2018+at+the+Holland+Performing+Arts+Center+in+Omaha.+Photo+courtesy+of+Deborah+McGinn
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Slam Champs x 3: LHS first slam team in Nebraska to win three State Championships

Left to Right: Samantha Robyler, Anthony Delaney, Jack Buchanan, and Karina Hinkley celebrate their state championship win at the Louder Than a Bomb Great Plains slam poetry competition on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha. Photo courtesy of Deborah McGinn

Left to Right: Samantha Robyler, Anthony Delaney, Jack Buchanan, and Karina Hinkley celebrate their state championship win at the Louder Than a Bomb Great Plains slam poetry competition on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha. Photo courtesy of Deborah McGinn

Left to Right: Samantha Robyler, Anthony Delaney, Jack Buchanan, and Karina Hinkley celebrate their state championship win at the Louder Than a Bomb Great Plains slam poetry competition on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha. Photo courtesy of Deborah McGinn

Left to Right: Samantha Robyler, Anthony Delaney, Jack Buchanan, and Karina Hinkley celebrate their state championship win at the Louder Than a Bomb Great Plains slam poetry competition on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha. Photo courtesy of Deborah McGinn

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By Kathrin Murad – NEWS

Lincoln High School’s Slam Poetry Team won their third State Champion Competition on Tuesday the 24th of April at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha. Lincoln High is the only school in Nebraska that has won three times. It has been three years since their last win in 2014.

From left to right, Anthony Delaney (12), Jasmine Amaya (10), Jack Buchanan (12), and Helen Newell (11) perform their group piece at the State Championship Competition on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Photo courtesy of Deborah McGinn

“The competition was very, very good,” Deborah McGinn, an English teacher and the Slam Poetry sponsor said. “Omaha Northwest came
in second, and they were a powerhouse. Omaha Westside came in third, and they were extraordinary, and Lincoln East was fourth place,” McGinn said.

McGinn gives all the praise to the students, because of all the hard work and long hours they put in. “I was honored to have these students in my English class their 9th grade year, except for Anthony Delaney [LHS senior and Slam Poetry member],” McGinn said. “You put writing opportunities in their hands and you invite them in. The power these students have, the craft of their writing, their delivery, their hard work, their dedication, and of course fun is part of the process of creating excellence, their own excellence.”

Deborah McGinn and her father, Jerry McGinn celebrate the Slam Poetry Team’s state win on April 24, 2018. Photo courtesy of Deborah McGinn

Seniors Anthony Delaney and Jack Buchanan agreed it was a great competition. “It felt really good, especially because when I came in
as a freshman, it was just off of a win [the 2014 win],” Buchanan said.“We kept working hard, and through a lot of support from students and teachers, we [won].”

On the other hand, it was Delaney’s first year with the team. “I’m extremely lucky to have the full experience my senior year. It’s a big deal,” Delaney said.

Because McGinn has been in a final competition before, she strongly encouraged a brand new, never-seen-before, new group piece. This meant that the slam team had just a few days to produce. “It was stressful, because we had short amount of time to do it. We put so many hours on the weekends and after school to figure it out,” Buchanan said.

The idea for the new piece came from a team member talking to their friends about the United States deploying bombs in Syria. They were very surprised when they figured nobody knew about the bombing: “That got us to the idea of, ‘Why is that? Why didn’t they know? What does that mean? Is it our responsibility to know?’ Is being in the position that we are in, in America,” Delaney said.

2018 LHS Slam Poetry State Championship Team

The piece was, “collaborative,” Buchanan said. They took the best lines from every member of the team to make one piece. Some students wrote lines, but didn’t get to perform them. “It [the piece] was so fresh; it was new; it was exciting; it was smart. We needed something to surprise everyone,” McGinn said.

“You don’t plan to go and win the championship; you go up and do your best,” McGinn said. “They will never forget that and this sponsor will never forget them. There are so many moments, like the kids who will hold the trophy and put it over their heads. I have a shout out to all the staff members from Lincoln High who got in vehicles and drove to Omaha, to the Holland Performing Art Center last night. Those kids would never forget that these teachers were there. Those things matter.”

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