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Bowman celebrates poets and artists

One by one, the students gathered the courage and came to the stage at Bowman High School to read a poem from ‘The Redemption of You’ – a collection of their own poems.

In celebration of Bowman High School’s 31st annual Day of the Artist and Poet festival on Wednesday, the front yard welcomed visitors with not only live musical performances and poetry readings, but also art projects created throughout the year by the creative writing students, art and music of the school.

Aubrey Soliz, left, reads her poem "Again"  during the Day of Artist and Poet Festival at Bowman High School in Santa Clarita on Wednesday 051524. Dan Watson/The Signal
Aubrey Soliz, left, reads her poem “Again” during the Day of Artist and Poet Festival at Bowman High School in Santa Clarita on Wednesday, 051524. Dan Watson/The Signal

The anthology is composed of creative writing pieces curated by teacher Michael Mansfield.

“Every story of redemption is a story of hope and struggle. During our most difficult times, we discover things about ourselves that we never knew…. Any student at Bowman High School can tell you that they know all too well what redemption and second chances are,” Mansfield wrote in the book’s introduction.

This year’s anthology ran to over 180 pages and included the most poetry entries in high school history.

Aaron Nava reads his poem "Padre Mia"  during the Day of Artist and Poet Festival at Bowman High School in Santa Clarita on Wednesday 051524. Dan Watson/The SignalAaron Nava reads his poem "Padre Mia"  during the Day of Artist and Poet Festival at Bowman High School in Santa Clarita on Wednesday 051524. Dan Watson/The Signal
Aaron Nava reads his poem “Padre Mia” during the Day of Artist and Poet Festival at Bowman High School in Santa Clarita on Wednesday, 051524. Dan Watson/The Signal

“This is actually a milestone year for us. This is the largest book of poetry ever produced, it’s 182 pages of poems that are leaps and bounds,” Mansfield told the crowd. “It’s a record breaker, and it’s also been a record year for us in the poetry program. It is truly impressive how much talent is emerging here and we are very happy to share it.”

Alvin Gonzalez rehearses his guitar before performing during the Day of Artist and Poet Festival at Bowman High School in Santa Clarita on Wednesday 051524. Dan Watson/The SignalAlvin Gonzalez rehearses his guitar before performing during the Day of Artist and Poet Festival at Bowman High School in Santa Clarita on Wednesday 051524. Dan Watson/The Signal
Alvin Gonzalez rehearses his guitar before performing during the Day of Artist and Poet Festival at Bowman High School in Santa Clarita on Wednesday 051524. Dan Watson/The Signal

For first-year 11th and 12th grade art teacher Olivia Hondrogiannis at Bowman, who was experiencing the festival for the first time, impressed is an understatement.

“The art here today is a selection of things we have done throughout the year. We made paper mache. The students designed an animal of which they chose parts from other animals. We created Sacred Hearts, which was a painting with a combination of the heart of clay – and was inspired by a passion or a quote or something they are dedicated to,” Hondrogiannis said.

Hondrogiannis takes pride in knowing that students are taking the initiative to express themselves not only creatively, but also collaboratively with others.

“As for the creative writing course, that’s all Mike Mansfield. I don’t know how he gets his kids to come up and read their poems. He is a great motivator for these kids,” Hondrogiannis said. “It is very exciting to see all the children’s work and have their parents and friends come and see.”

Senior Kevin Matias, 18, spent the year thinking about his art and how Hondrogiannis inspired him and his peers to create.

Visitors examine the artwork on display during the Day of Artist and Poet Festival at Bowman High School in Santa Clarita on Wednesday 051524. Dan Watson/The SignalVisitors examine the artwork on display during the Day of Artist and Poet Festival at Bowman High School in Santa Clarita on Wednesday 051524. Dan Watson/The Signal
Visitors examine the artwork on display during the Day of Artist and Poet Festival at Bowman High School in Santa Clarita on Wednesday 051524. Dan Watson/The Signal

“I describe myself as an artist. I like to create things. I like putting what’s in my head on paper. I like that our teacher is very helpful and passionate about her work,” said Matias. “Everyone likes to communicate with each other, and when it’s time to get work done, we get work done.”

Matias’ favorite thing to make was a scratch board, using pictures of a classic car and a rapper as reference photos. As the academic year and overall high school experience comes to a close, Matias can imagine a future in the arts.

“I see myself doing art in the future, like designing a logo, or doing something to advertise,” Matias said. “It’s great that my work is being presented today. I feel special because I can show during class what I did and what I enjoyed doing. Bowman is great.”