Kelso High School students win Scottish Youth Poetry Slam 2018

Kelso High School's winning poets and musicians, from left: Leona Brown,'Liberty Barber, Alex Bissett, Lexi Reader, Beth Fletcher, Chloe Nicol and Sophie Hogarth.
Kelso High School's winning poets and musicians, from left: Leona Brown,'Liberty Barber, Alex Bissett, Lexi Reader, Beth Fletcher, Chloe Nicol and Sophie Hogarth.

A team of wordsmiths and musicians from Kelso has pulled off a grand slam to win a national poetry prize.

A Kelso High School team was crowned winner of the Scottish Youth Poetry Slam with its poem Parents v Kids.

Liberty Barber, Ruth Fletcher and Leona Wood with their trophy, designed by Davie McCracken of visual arts organisation Project Ability.

Liberty Barber, Ruth Fletcher and Leona Wood with their trophy, designed by Davie McCracken of visual arts organisation Project Ability.

The seven-strong team from S3 and S4 came out on top in the final at the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock last week, having previously won through a regional heat in Stirling.

Under the auspices of English teacher Brendan McAndrew and music teacher Caitlin Riley, pupils Sophie Hogarth, Chloe Nicol, Lexi Reader, Beth Fletcher, Leona Brown, Liberty Barber and Alex Bissett managed to control their nerves to deliver a show-stopping performance, finishing ahead of 2016 winners Port Glasgow High School and runners-up Mearns Castle.

“They were nervous before the final, but they were self-assured in the performance, which was amazing,” Mr McAndrew told us.

“I’m so proud of them. It was very stern competition, so it was wonderful to win it.

“All the work has been done out of class. They would go away and practise and then bring it back, and each time it was so much better.”

Event founder Rachel Jury added: “I’m delighted that Kelso High School have become this year’s slam masters.

“The standard was really high from all five schools, but the judges felt that Kelso High just pipped the others.”

The Scottish Youth Poetry Slam is a biannual competition encouraging young people to embrace language through poetry and spoken word, with dual emphasis on writing and performance.

Now in its second year, the project invites pupils to take part in music, poetry and performance workshops leading up to the event, held this year in collaboration with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, which helped create music to go with the poetry and performed at final.