Poetry is a snap for some Monroe Country Day School students

Performers at the first Monroe Country Day School Poetry Reading, from left, teacher Judy Sanders, students Zack Kirkman, Trevor Harris, Zach Music, Vincent Tonelli, Brooks Malcom, Jazlyn Atkinson, Ava Aaron and founder Dr. Rita Dickinson. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel
Performers at the first Monroe Country Day School Poetry Reading, from left, fourth-grade teacher Judy Sanders, students Zack Kirkman, Trevor Harris, Zach Music, Vincent Tonelli, Brooks Malcom, Jazlyn Atkinson, Ava Aaron and founder Dr. Rita Dickinson. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel

The first poetry reading of fourth and fifth-grade students from Monroe Country Day School took place at The Cotton Cafe in downtown Monroe Tuesday – and by all accounts it was a “snapping” success.

“This is our first annual Coffee House Poetry Reading,” said Dr. Rita Dickinson, founder of MCDS. “The idea came when our fourth-grade teacher Judy Sanders asked me to listen to some of the poetry our students had written. I was floored.”

Dickinson said she and Sanders couldn’t believe the how far the students had come in such a short time and they decided to give the students the opportunity to share their poetry with others in the community. The audience, including the students, adopted the traditional response to a poetry reading of snapping their appreciation instead of clapping.

Attendees snapped their appreciation of the young poets. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel
Attendees snapped their appreciation of the young poets. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel

According to research, the snapping at a poetry reading is something that took hold back in the 1950s when poetry was read at coffee houses, sometimes with people living in the apartments above. The snapping was a way of showing appreciation without disturbing the residents who may be sleeping. Another story is that it is difficult to clap with a beer in your hand, hence the snapping with the other hand. That, however, was not a problem the young poets had to contend with. They happily snapped with both hands to show their appreciation for their classmates’ talents.

Monroe Country Day School student Trevor Harris "snaps" his appreciate for the work of a fellow student poet. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel
Monroe Country Day School student Trevor Harris “snaps” his appreciate for the work of a fellow student poet. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel

The budding young poets proudly read their pieces to the dinner crowd. It was a sold-out ticketed event that gave those in attendance an opportunity to see the progress of students at MCDS, which is coming to an end of its inaugural year.

Monroe Country Day School founder, Dr. Rita Dickerson, at the Poetry reading for some of the students. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel
Monroe Country Day School founder, Dr. Rita Dickerson, at the Poetry reading for some of the students. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel

The school is the realization of a dream for Dickinson who retired from the Walton County School District. Former WCSD Superintendent, Joe Bradley, just happened to walk in on the poetry reading event and took the opportunity to say how impressed he was with progress in Walton County, complimenting the young poets.

DSC_6364
Joe Bradley, a former superintendent of Walton County School District, took the opportunity for an impromptu address of the attendees at the first annual Coffee House Poetry Reading of Monroe Country Day School students at the Cotton Cafe. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel
DSC_6341
Judy Sanders, fourth-grade teacher at Monroe County Day School in Monroe, Ga. at the first annual Coffee House Poetry Reading. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel
DSC_6349
Trevor Harris, a student at Monroe County Day School in Monroe, reads some of his poetry at the Cotton Cafe in Monroe, Ga. on Jan. 24, 2017.
DSC_6354
Jazlyn Atkinson, a student at Monroe County Day School in Monroe, reads some of her poetry at the Cotton Cafe in Monroe, Ga. on Jan. 24, 2017.
DSC_6355
Brooks Malcom, a student at Monroe County Day School in Monroe, reads some of his poetry at the Cotton Cafe in Monroe, Ga. on Jan. 24, 2017.
DSC_6367
Ava Aaron, a student at Monroe County Day School in Monroe, reads some of her poetry at the Cotton Cafe in Monroe, Ga. on Jan. 24, 2017.
DSC_6353
Zack Kirkman, a student at Monroe County Day School in Monroe, reads some of his poetry at the Cotton Cafe in Monroe, Ga. on Jan. 24, 2017.
DSC_6351
Vincent Tonelli, a student at Monroe Country Day School, shares the podium with fourth-grade teacher Judy Sanders. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel
DSC_6352
Zack Music, a student at Monroe Country Day School, shares the podium with teacher Judy Sanders. Photo credit: Sharon Swanepoel

MCDS offers a model different from other traditional public and private schools in the county.

“Children are taught by using strategies that promote growth in character and becoming independent thinkers through a balance of scholarly enterprise and active participation in service learning and the arts,” Dickinson said when the school first prepared to open its door. As is the case with a garden children take care of at MCDS, events like the poetry writing and reading is another way to expand on the children’s education. It showcased the children’s individuality, character and in some cases sense of humor. It also gave them an opportunity to support each other when nerves took over.

About Sharon Swanepoel 4224 Articles
Sharon Swanepoel is the Publisher and Editor of Monroe Local.
Contact: Website

3 Comments on Poetry is a snap for some Monroe Country Day School students

  1. Wish I could have bee there!!
    What is the possibility of putting the poems together in the form of a booklet, as a keepsake for the students and for those of us who missed the reading?

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: