Santa Barbara Teen Poetry Slam Contest Winner

High school students recited their original and powerfully written poems on Thursday, May 4, 2023.

Students were judged on elements of achievement such as facial expressions, delivery and enthusiasm, with Ernest Righetti High School tenth grader Samantha McDonald taking first place. Tenth grader Litzy Matematico and eleventh grader Natalie Lancor from Ernest Righetti High School tied for second place as all three teenagers wowed the crowd with their creative performances.

SBCEO Poetry Slam Champion Samantha McDonald | Photo credit: Courtesy of SBCEO

The SBCEO Poetry Slam Contest, a Santa Barbara County Education Office program, celebrates creative expression and is an inclusive space for poetry and performance. The program combines writing, performance and audience participation as they explore meaningful issues affecting their world.

SBCEO has partnered with a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization. Get Lit – Words igniteto support students and teachers in learning spoken-word poetry and to provide coaching and support to create meaningful literary works.

“Poetry through the spoken word offers students an opportunity to speak the truth uncompromisingly and harness the power of language and authentic performances,” said Ellen Barger, Assistant Superintendent of SBCEO Curriculum and Instruction.

County school principal Susan Salcido congratulated the participants, saying that “the students have taken written poetry to a new level of bold artistry and creative expression.”

Bobby Allyn

Bobby Allyn is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Bobby Allyn joined USTimeToday in 2022 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Bobby Allyn by emailing

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