HPU Bonner Leader Hosts ‘Poetry Project’ Showcase for Local School Children

Doug McCollum, High Point University Bonner Leader and poet, welcomed the loved ones of the students participating in the Poetry Project, a partnership with PNAC after-school programs and HPU’s Community Writing Center.


HIGH POINT, N.C., March 6, 2020 – High Point University’s Bonner Leader program partnered with two Washington Street afterschool programs to share poetry from local school children.

The event was open to the public and gave children a chance to perform original poetry written at Poetry Project workshops in partnership with the Community Writing Center and PNAC, an afterschool program. Douglas McCollum, HPU senior and Bonner Leader, coordinated the event.

Three middle school students recited their spoken word about what it’s like to “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes.”

“The poetry project is important to me because of voice,” said McCollum. “I think a lot of these kids have things to say that they don’t necessarily get to say otherwise. It’s good to get to support them in their community, for them to tell their stories, and I have hope in them.”

McCollum also speaks highly of the Bonner Program and what it has provided him as a First Generation Scholar and HPU Bonner Leader for the past four years.

“The Bonner Program has helped me tremendously in becoming acclimated to High Point University,” said McCollum. “It’s a program that allows individuals to discover who they are and what they can do.”

The event hosted full pews of children with their parents, grandparents, siblings and other loved ones that filled Mt. Zion Baptist Church. The topic for this year was “Walk a Mile in My Shoes.” As children stood up to recite their poetry, their family members showed their support by cheering for them.

“Poetry Project teaches us how to present famous poems and write our own poetry,” said Danaisa Harrington, an elementary student and active participant with D-Up, an area nonprofit, and PNAC after-school programs. “It makes a safe place and environment for us. We always have fun and practice our poems every time we meet.”

Harrington and her four friends recited “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou.

The Community Writing Center, a partnership between HPU and Mt. Zion, is an afterschool program that engages children in reading and writing projects. HPU Bonner Leaders and students from service learning classes work closely with the children through creative writing practices, interactive exercises and homework assistance. PNAC (Physical Activity, Nutrition, Academics, and Character Development) is an afterschool recreational enrichment program for children on Washington Street also served by HPU students and held at D-Up.

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