Heard 'Em Say Poetry Slam Team

The Heard 'Em Say Poetry Slam Team was created to identify, cultivate, and exhibit exemplary teen poets from the Tampa Bay Area, through the vehicle of 'slam poetry'.? The team is committed to developing strong and creative writing, with an emphasis on innovative, energetic, and polished presentations.? The Heard 'Em Say Poetry Slam Team is designed to function as an extension of the show (adhering to show guidelines) and to represent the flourishing talent base in the region, as young, modern-day Tampa Bay griots!

The team is organized and coached by: Walter "Wally B." Jennings.?

Additional Leadership Team members include:
Assistant Coach-Liz 'Kali' Prisley
Assistant Coach-Dennis Amadeus
Team Trainer/Advisor-Tanquilla Hallback
Team Trainer/Advisor-Kylila Bullard
Marketing/Promotion/Fundraising Coordinator-TBA

Any additional Adult Volunteers will be pre-approved by Walter "Wally B." Jennings.? We will be sure to inform you in advance of any Adults that may be brought in to volunteer with the teens.

2013 H.E.S. Slam Team
Jessica Allen
Jamie Dawson
Rebekah Nelson-Folkersen
Nynchoycha Pitt
Nia Scott
Kalimah Ujamaa
2014 H.E.S. Slam Team
Jessica Allen
Jamie Dawson
Aubrey Diaz
Xavier Grullon
Misa Oliver
Nynchoycha Pitt

2013 H.E.S. Slam Team, after 3rd and 2nd place finishes in the Quarterfinal Round, qualified for the Semi-Final Round (Top 20 Teams advance)...finished behind eventual 2013 BNV Champion: Team Denver...left BNV ranked as one of the Top 12 Youth Slam Teams in the World.

The teens will prepare group pieces and strengthen individual poems, under the direction and tutelage of the coach and staff in order to compete at the Brave New Voices International Poetry Festival and various other events.? We will organize at least one face-to-face practice per week.? It is imperative that team members remain in contact via phone or computer between these meetings in order to build chemistry and promote cohesion.? Also, team members are required to be prepared AND on time for all practice sessions.? Team strategy will most often be determined by the situation (which poem(s) works best given the circumstances).? Although it is always 'desirable' that each teen member have the opportunity to perform, it is not always feasible.? Poets are encouraged to work towards putting themselves in more favorable positions to perform by ensuring that they are proficient in their individual poems and group pieces.? ??

Team Captain:
The team captain serves as a youth leader and liaison (i.e., link) between the coaches and the team.? This means that this individual is responsible for fostering, promoting and modeling effective communication, cooperation and positive collaboration efforts.? He/She is the student overseer of the group and is empowered to speak on behalf of the team to help govern team policy and protocol.???

Disclaimer: The team captain is chosen at the discretion of the H.E.S. Leadership Team, which makes campaigning for this role unnecessary and of no consequence.? The captain is identified and appointed based on the following criteria: (1) observation of the teen's unwavering commitment to the organization's philosophy and standards, (2) strong content of character and conduct in principle and practice and (3) service and respect towards other team members (i.e., servant leader), fellow artists and the diverse community.???

Team Captain Role and Responsibilities:

  • Facilitates team practice sessions in the coaches' absence.
  • Organizes extra practice sessions that benefit the team.
  • (as needed; based on Team consensus: Phone conferences, Face-to-Face, etc.)
  • Maintains order in practice, workshops, meetings or off-site during performances.
  • Communicates practice times (i.e., phone, email, text messages, etc.,) event/show schedules, revisions, attire, significant personal accomplishments of team members and takes attendance.
  • Maintains an unbiased viewpoint and exercises confidentiality when sensitive information is shared such as concerns and/or conflicts.??

Judgment calls will made by the coaches in the event that the captain or any team member abuses his or her position on the team.???


Code of Conduct Policy

The code of conduct policy is the commitment of the H.E.S. Leadership Team to establish the proper ideals of sportsmanship, ethical conduct and appropriate behavior and actions during all activities and performances.? We expect acceptable standards of good citizenship, with proper regard for the rights and respect of others.??

We are further committed to the belief that parents with teens participating in activities should also provide a noble example of decent and proper behavior.? This also includes family members, friends and associates.? Conduct which is detrimental to the educational value of activities may be deemed just cause for the individual's reprimand, probation or suspension from future activities.?


It is the responsibility of the teen to:

  • Demonstrate self-control and respect for others at all times, be they fellow poets, coaches, judges or spectators.
  • Remember that participation and the right to be heard is a privilege that is not to be abused by unethical conduct.
  • Deal with opponents with respect and decency. Shake hands after the competition and congratulate them on their performance.
  • Respect the integrity and decision of the judges.
  • Remember that improper behavior reflects poorly upon yourself, your family, your school and your community.
  • Know, understand and abide by the rules and regulations of the competition.
  • Accept victory with grace and defeat with dignity.
  • Remember that the use, abuse and resulting negative influence of drugs, including alcohol and tobacco is strictly prohibited and may lead to disciplinary action.