Educator Affirmations

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Greg Lewis [Teen Parapro-Kentwood Branch]

“For the 2nd consecutive year, the amount of student submissions entries in the KDL Teen Poetry Contest was record-breaking, largely due to the great work the group does in schools. The Diatribe excels at encouraging students to share their words and always seem to get students who do not readily participate eagerly speaking up and finding their voice.”

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Kathy Vogel [7th and 8th Grade English Language Arts Teacher]

“Working with the Diatribe provided me the opportunity to learn more about my students. I found myself guilty of creating preconceived stories about my students. After learning about their personal stories through their poetry, I discovered that some of my students have experienced tragedies in various forms. Both students and teachers learned valuable lessons about empathy. Not only did we become more empathic, we became more tolerant of each other. Students wrote and shared and wrote and shared. The Diatribe created a safe caring environment which helped students produce some of their best work.”

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Aaron Turner [Development Manager, WGVU Public Media]

“It is rare when mission and passion align, but this is exactly what happens when community advocacy, youth development, and passion meets amazing spoken word poets. I attended the Diatribe Fun’Raiser Party in 2018 and I was amazed by the impact that I witnessed, and it motivated me and moved me to want to be involved with the mission and execution of the Diatribe. Using art as a way to combat the ever eroding social conscious in our youth is brilliant. Just as relevant today as it was when the spoken word scene exploded in the early-mid 90’s, this art form in the hands of skilled poets and open-minded youth is a tool that can build bridges instead of walls. I was touched by what I witnessed at that event and am looking forward to being a part of the growth and evolution of the Diatribe. Their work with our communities most valuable and vulnerable commodity….our youth, is to be applauded!”

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Emily Conz [English Teacher at Blackhawk Middle School, Fort Wayne, IN]

I was able to attend your Grand Showcase a few weeks ago, and I haven’t been able to think of much else since.  Admittedly, I attended simply because you had my favorite poet headlining, but I came to listen to all of the poets present.  What an incredible afternoon.  It is evident that you have something incredibly special. Thank you for sharing that with the community.
I am also writing to you as a fellow English teacher.  I come from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and I teach 8th grade English and 7th and 8th grade creative writing at Blackhawk Middle School.  It has always been my dream to teach creative writing, and I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to teach three sections of it this year.  I have one student who recently entered our local library’s poetry contest.  She won third place out of every single 8th grader who entered.  She is incredibly talented.  I know you have summer programs that she could greatly benefit from–could I have more information to pass on to her?  Is it possible for her to participate, even if she is in Fort Wayne? 
I look forward to hearing from you, and I look forward to continuing to aid in your mission to empower young people to share their stories.”

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Kim Urbanski [Teacher at Godwin Heights Middle School]

“Our children here are amazing and it was so incredible to hear them share. It makes my heart happy that kids are being given voices and a platform to share. So many good things can come from confidence and the ability to feel heard.”

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Becca Guyette [Art Prize Eduation Director]

“The Diatribe’s educational program during ArtPrize Eight was a dynamic and inspirational performance that empowered youth to make real-life connections to poetry as a therapeutic means of self expression.”

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Brian Mulder [Granville Middle School Assistant Principal]

“The Diatribe brought their words to life with our students, from the big view at large assemblies to small groups with individualized writing support.  They understand the importance of showing students how important their words can be and how poetry can be the avenue to express your thoughts in a meaningful way.”

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Bathany Joy Winn [MDiv, Hospice Chaplin]

“The Diatribe is everything. Thank you for the Showcase, and for all the work you do year-round. You’re the essence of intersectional artistic expression and truth-telling. You’re cultivating the kind of humanity the world needs more of. I wanted to spend forever with everyone in that space, listening to all the stories anyone wanted to share from their souls. Thanks for the hope, the inspiration, the tears, the rage. Keep doing what you’re doing. This event is all the magic and power of intersectional artistry and freedom. Amen, yes, and thank you to the Diatribe.”

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Matt LaFleur [Art Teacher at Southwest Community Campus, Grand Rapids, MI]

“Today I heard my middle school students speak truth to gentrification, what it means to be black today, the admiration of their single mothers, the crippling depression they feel every day, deportation of those they love most, the support they feel from their parents, and what the phrase “gay pride” means to them. All through the work of poetry. I thank the Grand Rapids #Diatribe for their ability to extract so much raw emotion, fiery passion, anger, respect, and soul from our students at Southwest Community Campus for the past few months. Their presentations of their original poetry was nothing less than awe inspiring. 

This is why I teach. THIS is why I teach.”

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Sheryl Depker [Sixth Grade Teacher at Southwest Community Campus, Grand Rapids, MI]

“One of my favorite moments ever in my teaching career.  Culturally responsive education can be so powerful for students.”

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Alex Mosley [Intervention Specialist]

I believe these performances gave students the ability to express themselves like never before, at least at Godwin Middle. It allowed me to learn about some of our student’s personal stories, and to see the world through their eyes and minds. “

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Dana Kym [8th Grade Reading Teacher Godwin Heights Middle School]

“They were awesome! It is so cool that Diatribe gave our students a platform to share their work. It was also great to see how supportive the students in the audience were and that students felt comfortable sharing very personal things.”

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 Mrs. Beth Frank, [Guidance Counselor, Crossroads Alternative HS]

“Watching my students perform their poetry was such an amazing experience!  I was blown away by the talent, passion and emotion that they displayed. I learned so much about what was going on in their world and was able to form a more meaningful connection with them.”

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Mike Ketelaar, [English Teacher, Crossroads Alternative HS]

“My students absolutely love having Diatribe at Crossroads to help them refine their craft. Diatribe is professional, compassionate, encouraging, and extremely skilled at helping students find their personal voice to share with the world. I have witnessed Fable, Rachel, and Kid make meaningful connections with students and positively impact their confidence, love of poetry, and ability to express their emotions positively through their spoken word.”

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