Phoenix Students Conquer LTAB

Phoenix Students Conquer LTAB

Louder Than A Bomb is an annual poetry slam that takes place here in Chicago. Two of Phoenix’s very own seniors Matthew Wilbourn and Sammy Ortega both placed in this past LTAB competition.

LTAB first started in 2001 and since then the competition has become home for multiple teams and individual poets city wide. Sammy is apart of the Kuumba Lynx Team, coached by Jaquanda Villegas and Jacinda Bullie. Matthew is apart of the Phoenix Military Academy poetry team, coached by Mr. Waller.

The 2017 LTAB competition was not the first time the boys found themselves on stage, and for Sammy,  it’s not the first time being in a LTAB competitor.

“When I was on Phoenix’s team my first bout was against Whitney Young and other select few schools. We won first place in my preliminary bout, but then got second place in our second preliminary bout against Gwendolyn Brooks”, said Ortega.

“I was scared. It wasn’t my first time on stage. It wasn’t my first time reciting something. It was my first time putting myself on the stage. Not playing a character, but being myself. That was just scary”, said Wilbourn.

In this years LTAb competition, the boys have made groundbreaking accomplishments. Ortega, and the rest of the Kuumba Lynx Team won team finals out of 120 plus teams.Wilbourn, currently a part of the Phoenix Team, is one of the cities top two poets.

“I didn’t think I would end up top 2. It was a trip. I got so many praises from poets I consider gods in the game. The fact that they consider me on the same level with room to be greater than them is one of the best things of my life. Also, gwendolyn brooks’s daughter called me ‘perfection on stage’. It was a surreal feeling”, said Wilbourn.

Since both boys are seniors they, unfortunately, can not compete as a poet next year in Louder Than a Bomb. But, this will not stop Ortega. Next Year, he is planning on coming back to LTAB as an assistant coach to Kuumba Lynx.