By: Katherine Hafner
The Virginian-Pilot
February 11, 2016
NORFOLK, VA – The last of the day’s sunlight filtered through the glass windows of Slover Library on Thursday night as eight students prepared to take the mic in a sixth-floor room.

Teens With a Purpose kicked off its 8th annual Hampton Roads Youth Poetry Festival with the first installment of a slam poetry competition. Six students will eventually go on to represent Hampton Roads at the global Brave New Voices festival this summer.

On Thursday, eight students competed, with a smattering of family and friends in attendance. The atmosphere was supportive and friendly, with consistent snaps or clapping from the audience while the teens performed.

“There’s a healthy energy about slam,” said Nia Johnson, a competitor who attends Suffolk’s Nansemond River High School. “I can voice my generation in an effective way.”

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