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Port Chester Students Celebrate Black History Month With Heartfelt Poetry

Step Team At Port Chester High School
Step Team At Port Chester High School Video Credit: Jon Craig
Port Chester High School Principal Mitchell Combs presents the top prize to Christopher Chino. The other four award winners are left of Combs. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Robert Mickatavage, who placed second, reads "One For All." The judges are on seated. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Poet and step dancer Robert Gonzalez leads a routine with Cielo Velez. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Friends and family enjoy the entertainment by "One Step, One Sound." Photo Credit: Jon Craig

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- Port Chester High School students shared their pain, joy, heartaches and worries Thursday during the 10th annual Phillis Wheatley Poetry Slam.

The competition gets larger and more competitive every year and is held in February to recognize Black History Month, according to Mattie Gooden, advisor to the school's African-American Club.

High School Principal Mitchell Combs called the entries, which 15 students read aloud, "extremely authentic and heartfelt. The competition was very deep."

This year's winner was Christopher Chino for "Legacy of the Eternal Fire."

Robert Mickatavage placed second for his poem "One For All."

Israel Carranza was third for "Determined Faces on Different Races."

In fourth place was Augustine Joseph for "The Future That I Desire."

And Jose Corona placed fifth for "Roller Coaster Phobia."

During an intermission to give Combs and four other judges time to select the top five poems, a Step Team called "One Step, One Sound" entertained the audience of more than 50 students and staff. Step dancing were Robert Gonzalez, Kimberly Mendoza, Latoya Stracham and Cielo Velez.

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