Cypress Bay HS and Parker Barry of Wellington Community HS
Headline List of Champions For First-Ever Virtual
Louder Than a Bomb Florida Poetry Festival


For the past three weeks, nearly 300 teens representing 32 different schools across five school districts participated in the 6thannual Louder Than a Bomb Florida Poetry Festival presented by UPS and Nova Southeastern University. Following nearly 450 poetic performances, the Cypress Bay High School Lightning Poets’ Society was named Team Champions while Parker Barry, a senior from Wellington Community High School captured the “Indy” Poet Championship.

Dubbed the “Super Bowl of poetry,” Louder Than a Bomb Florida, a Jason Taylor Foundation arts and education project as part of it’s Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network, is a festival featuring poetry bouts, workshops, exhibits, and ultimately the crowning of Florida’s top youth spoken-word poetry team. The most critical component, however, is the year-round, meaningful instruction inside the classroom and after-school clubs, with teachers and teaching artists who create and facilitate a safe space for individual and collective expression.

This year, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the field of teams was reduced from a record 48 registered schools to the 32 that were represented in LTABFLA’s first-ever virtual competition.  Students submitted self-made videos of their poems that were played online for live judges with a live host, all in a digital environment that was streamed for participants, their teachers, and families to see.

The team from Cypress Bay is led by Ms. Shawntee’ Herring, an English and Creative Writing teacher at the Weston based high school. Poets representing Boca Raton Community High School, Charles W. Flanagan High School and Miami Norland Senior High School joined Ms. Herring’s students on the StevenDouglas LTABFLA Team Finals stage.  Please CLICK HERE to watch the entire Team Finals event as live streamed on YouTube Live.

LTABFLA is a team competition, however individual performances are also recognized, with the top 12 scoring poets of the entire festival advancing to the Ultimate Software “Indy Finals.” Enduring a three-round, elimination style bout, Parker Barry captured first place, with Angelica Gonzalez of Cypress Bay and Isabella Ramirez of Palm Beach based A. W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts tying for second.  Please CLICK HERE to watch the entire Indy Finals event as live streamed on YouTube Live.

[image src=”https://jasontaylorfoundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/06.Social.Media_.Release.Champ_.Team_.LTABFLA.2020-2.png” shape=”img-rounded”]         [image src=”https://jasontaylorfoundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/05.Social.Media_.Release.Champ_.Indy_.LTABFLA.2020-2.png” shape=”img-rounded”]

Anna Bayuk Named South Florida Youth Poet Laureate

The Jason Taylor Foundation is pleased to announce that Anna Bayuk has earned the honor of being named South Florida Youth Poet Laureate (SFYPL) for the 2020-21 school year. Anna, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, will have her chapbook of original poems, Venus of the Swamp, released during a celebratory event at the Ultimate studio blu in Weston later this year, and will participate in a number of philanthropic and performance opportunities.

The South Florida Youth Poet Laureate competition is a collaboration between the Jason Taylor Foundation’s Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network, and Urban Word, a New York-based literary arts education and youth development organization. Anna is now the fifth ever winner of the South Florida award.

“The South Florida Youth Poet Laureate program allows for the pen of a poet to outweigh the performance of a spoken word artist,” said Epiphany, bluapple Poetry Programs Coordinator. “This program highlights the skill of these young wordsmiths and every year I am thoroughly impressed at how the voices of the young people are able to resonate with me and the panel of judges. Congratulations to this year’s winners and thank you to all of the other poets who submitted.”

An esteemed panel of educators, authors, poets and community professionals meticulously read through the largest submission pool since the inception of the South Florida Youth Poet Laureate program that included a portfolio of poetry and each student’s résumé. At the end of the process, one Youth Poet Laureate and two Youth Poet Ambassadors were selected. The Ambassadors are Daniel Ardila, a senior at Coral Springs High School, and Julia Safrin, a senior at Cooper City High School.

[image src=”https://jasontaylorfoundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Cover.Front_.YPL_.2020.png” shape=”img-rounded”]         [image src=”https://jasontaylorfoundation.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Cover.Reverse.YPL_.2020.png” shape=”img-rounded”]

Tia Ebanks Wins blu is For Apples Elementary School Poetry Contest

For the second consecutive year, the Jason Taylor Foundation held its “blu is for Apples” poetry contest in partnership with Hoffman’s Chocolates. This year, Tia Ebanks, a fifth grader at Walker Elementary School in Ft. Lauderdale, was selected as the overall winner from more than 450 submissions.

Participating schools received visits from bluapple Poetry Network staff and Teaching Artists, who lead students in writing workshops. Students were required to write a poem inspired by the prompt: The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree; what kind of tree do I come from?

Each school chose their top poems to represent them in the Grand Prize contest, and those students and their classmates were rewarded with a Hoffman’s Chocolates “Sweet Ride Truck” ice cream party. Hoffman’s Chocolates also awarded the overall winning student from each school with their ideal custom caramel apple. As the Grand Prize Winner, Tia won a Hoffman’s Chocolates Apple Decorating Party for her entire class.

Castle Hill Elementary School in Lauderhill received a $500 donation as the school with the highest percentage of participation as more than 55% of the entire student body submitted a poem.

About the Jason Taylor Foundation

In July 2004, Miami Dolphins legendary Defensive End, Jason Taylor, established the Jason Taylor Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) organization. The Foundation’s mission is to support and create programs that facilitate the personal growth and empowerment of South Florida’s children in need by focusing on improved health care, education and quality of life.

Since opening its doors, the Jason Taylor Foundation has impacted tens of thousands of children through innovative programming including The Jason Taylor Reading Room, Cool Gear for the School Year, the Jason Taylor Children’s Learning Center, Jason Taylor Scholars and the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network, among others. For more information on the Jason Taylor Foundation, please visit the organization’s website at visit the organization’s website at www.JasonTaylorFoundation.org or follow on social media sites including Facebook or Twitter and Instagram: @jtfoundation99.

About Nova Southeastern University (NSU)

Located in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida, NSU is a dynamic research institution dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs at the undergraduate, graduate and first-professional degrees levels.  An independent, not-for-profit institution with approximately 25,000 students, NSU has campuses in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach and Tampa, Florida as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico and online globally.  For more than 50 years, NSU has been awarding degrees in a wide range of fields, while fostering groundbreaking research and an impactful commitment to community. Classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, NSU is one of only 37 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification. For more information, please visit www.nova.edu.

About UPS

For more than 30 years, UPS has supported the work of organizations that share our dedication to improving lives and strengthening communities where we live and work every day.  Within these communities, we’re addressing important issues such as early-grade reading, high school graduation rates and financial stability.  This ties directly into the mission of the Jason Taylor Foundation.  This positive impact on society could not be created without the overwhelming help and support of UPS employees.  Since 1982, UPS and its employees – both active and retired – have donated more than $1 billion to non-profit organizations through their annual United Way campaign, becoming the first company to reach this philanthropic milestone. As a result, UPS is a two-time winner of the United Way’s Spirit of America award, the organization’s highest national honor for corporate involvement and commitment to building better communities. For information, please visit www.ups.com.

About Hoffman’s Chocolates

Headquartered in Greenacres, Florida, Hoffman’s Chocolates is a manufacturer of gourmet chocolates, with eight retail locations throughout South Florida, and mobile food truck, The Sweet Ride. The tradition of legendary chocolates began over 40 years ago in a small chocolate shop in Lake Worth with a commitment to use the finest and freshest ingredients from around the world. The Hoffman’s Chocolates Factory in Greenacres is a popular tourist destination where guests from all over the world are greeted by the aroma of slow-simmering chocolate and caramel and watch the art of candy making first hand at its observation windows. The company is notable for its elaborate December holiday displays, including the Hoffman’s Winter Wonderland, and products such as gift baskets and chocolate covered pretzels.

Hoffman’s Chocolates product lines include over 70 varieties of confections (all hand made using time honored traditions of candy making). Hoffman’s Chocolates are available via its retail store locations, thru online distribution channels and by direct shipping throughout the U.S. It has been a favorite local brand for residents throughout Florida. For more information, please visit www.Hoffmans.com.