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My name is Jennifer Dotson and I am the Founder & Program Coordinator for Highland Park Poetry. I am a huge fan of spoken word poetry programming for students (middle & high school). I was first introduced to the Louder Than A Bomb competition through the documentary film but it was my firsthand experience with Suzanne Sosnowski's students that really convinced me. I was invited to sit in on one or two sessions with the students who were preparing work for the competition early in the school year and later I got to see them perform for peers, family and community at an open-mic event near the end of the school year. The work was truly transformative for these students and I was so impressed with the growth of their writing, performance and overall confidence. It was a privilege to witness and I hope that students in Arizona will enjoy the same opportunity.


Jennifer Dotson

Founder, Program Coordinator - Highland Park Poetry
Highland Park, IL

Hi, my name is Robin and I've been a middle school English teacher for almost 20 years. I have worked closely with Suzanne for more than 10 of those years, and I can say with ease and confidence that she is one of the best educators I have ever met in my career. We share a passion for English, language, and literature, but more importantly we share a passion for working closely with children, particularly teens at the middle school and high school levels. Working with teens is a challenge, but the greatest gift I can ever imagine.

Through the years I have watched Suzanne develop dynamic and engaging poetry curriculum and spearhead both school and community-wide spoken word poetry slams with monumental success. I have personally witnessed these events literally transform both the kids who perform in them and audience members alike. Watching parents, community members, peers, and colleagues brought to tears by the confidence, talent, and personal growth displayed through the programs Suzanne has developed is inspirational, to say the least. Her ability to motivate teens with integrity and cultivate an appreciation for the arts makes Suzanne a stand-out.

Any community or school would be lucky to have the opportunity to have Suzanne work with their kids.


Secondary Teacher
Chicago, IL

My name is Stephanie Sedik. I am a Youth Services librarian at the Highland Park Public Library. I have been in Suzanne Sosnowski's classroom many times presenting book talks to her students. It has also been my pleasure to serve as a judge at the Northwood Junior High Poetry Slam competition. The poems are always impressive, the young poets more so. I've heard these young poets lay their souls bare on topics such as bullying, isolation and loss. Suzanne Sosnowski crafts a caring, accepting classroom environment for her students to make such courage possible. The quality of the writing is superior and varied, again a testament to Suzanne's skills as an educator.

On the day of the contest as the entire 8th grade, many teachers and judges from the community assembled, Suzanne went over the guidelines for judging but also for respectful listening from the crowd. Instead of clapping the crowd was instructed to finger-snap their appreciation. If they felt a score was too low they were instructed to tell the judges to "listen to the poem!" Both these instructions led to careful listening and enthusiastic participation.

Suzanne is the perfect person to help you launch your poetry slam. I hope you enjoy the process.


Stephanie Sedik

Youth Services Department
Highland Park Public Library
494 Laurel Avenue
Highland Park, IL
847-681-7030 x 220

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