McClure's Lure pulls in students, community

Paintings and three-dimesional masks lined the halls of McClure Middle School, welcoming teachers, students and parents to McClure's sixth annual "Lure of McClure" on Thursday, May 18. The artwork, designed by McClure students, was just one of the creative elements that made up the McClure event.

Created by Principal Kathy Bledsoe, the "Lure" allows children to perform their original poems, film and short stories in front of members of the community, including parents and teachers. Each room at McClure was designed to showcase individual talents, including a film festival, music room and poetry slam.

In the gymnasium, balloons scattered throughout the room as parents, kids and teachers gathered to watch each child's performance. Both the advanced and intermediate bands from McClure and Catharine Blaine K-8 also performed. Children watched each other excel in different events. Band students watched the poetry slam, clutching their instruments and awaiting their own performance. After the slam, the intermediate band, composed of sixth-graders (and one seventh-grader) performed two songs they had practiced for months. The band recently visited Disneyland and won fourth place for their performance.

The Writers' Stage and Poetry Slam were sponsored by Writers in the School, a literary program that houses local professional writers for yearlong residencies. One of McClure's writers-in-residence, Matt Gano, was the master of ceremony for the poetry slam. "I am privileged to work with these kids," Gano said.

During the slam, nine students performed their original work in front of a large audience and a panel of judges. Poets were judged on their presentations and expressiveness of their spoken word. Some of the judges were members of ASB and McClure staff.

The event was put on in part by Mary Douglas, parent and member of PTSA. "We were very pleased with the attendance," she said. "I think it turned out really well." Indeed it did. Hundreds of parents, teachers and students contributed to the event in one way or another. Funding was provided by McClure families and local businesses, and the funds go toward future "Lure"s as well as other literary and artistic programs, including Art Fusion and Writers in the Schools. Douglas said the event aims to bring diversity and creativity to the curriculum.

One student, Evan Schlesinger, recited his poem "Washing Machine" as his mother, father, and little sister watched. "I practiced for hours and hours," said Schlesinger, a sixth-grader at McClure. He, along with several other students, presented his poetry on the Writers' Stage. "[I was inspired] by the washing machine in our house," Schlesinger said with a smile on his face. Mr. Fielder's sixth-grade science class later performed a set of bird calls. Schlesinger, one of the 12 classmates, was excited to do his imitation of a great horned owl. Close to the microphone, he cupped his hands over his mouth and made a deep chirping sound remarkably resembling that of his bird.

Other performances included a surprise dance put on by some of McClure's sixth-grade teachers and a sneak peek of the upcoming musical, "Friday Knight Fever," from the drama team. Later, McClure's hip-hop group danced to a number of songs, each move choreographed perfectly. "The kids seemed to be very supportive of one another," Douglas said.

The stage in the gymnasium was donated by all of the sponsors, including Jamba Juice, Abbey Party Rents and Vincenzo's.

For additional information on upcoming events at McClure, visit

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