My Overall Summary of City Tech’s 40th Annual Literary Arts Festival: An Evening of Community & Reflection 2021

Welcome to City Tech’s 40th Annual Literary Arts Festival: An Evening of Community & Reflection! This New York City College of Technology tradition celebrates the talents of our students and provides a rich cultural experience for all. It was a special year, where it was the first time ever that CUNY Chancellor Dr. Felix V. Matos Rodriguez of the largest urban public system in the United States, attended the event in its 40 years history. The event started off with thanking the faculty, professors, and students, along with special guests who came together and contributed to make this event a very memorable and informative one. Most thanks to Professor Caroline Hellman, the event director and a City Tech English Professor and an author. After Professor Hellman’s introduction, a video was played of how great life was at City Tech before the pandemic, the beginning of the pandemic, to months later, which then turned to a whole year. Oh, how I miss entering the college buildings, walking down the halls to classes, chilling in the library with friends, and many more.

Then two students, Jeremiah Clemente and Frankie Lachapelle introduced themselves as senators in City Tech’s Student Government and Association, and as the event’s hosts. They then announced the goal and purpose for the event. Throughout the event, polls were presented for participants to engage in. The first poll was, “The best borough of NYC? Staten Island, Queens, Bronx, Manhattan or Brooklyn?” Staten Island 2%, Queens 11%, Bronx 6%, Manhattan 10%, and Brooklyn 70%. I totally chose Brooklyn, where I was born and raised for some time, when I was not in Trinidad. The second poll was, “What Zoom Style Are You or Which Zoom Person Are You? Checked-in (Camera on, Ready to go, Fully awake, Casual attire on) or Clocked-out (Camera off, Just woke up, Bedhead, Pajamas on)” Check-in 66% and Clocked-out 34%. I totally disagreed with that because I am totally a clocked-out person.

The event also consisted of students from City Tech. The first student speaker was Henry Mei, whose major is Career and Technical Education. He talked about being a student teacher, where he then presented a short documentary film. The second speaker was Christopher Maglorie, who graduated with a nursing degree and is a currently registered nurse. He talked about going to school and working full time, along with his experience as a frontline worker at a Brooklyn hospital during the pandemic. I totally admire his work and it is a gift that he was still here to share his story. The third student speaker was Damitreze Poe, who shared his written story about his experience with police harassment. The fourth student speaker was Jesus Rojas, whose major is Advertising and Marketing. He shared his one year later experience from pre-pandemic to present day reality.

The fifth student speaker was Dannielle Sweat who is a 30-year-old mother, part time college student and full-time hospital employee, along with majoring in Human Services. She shared her writing piece that consisted of the daily life of her job and at home from beginning of the pandemic to present day. The sixth student speaker was James Burton, whose major is Computer Systems and IT Operations. He shared his experience of his neighborhood throughout the pandemic. The seventh student speaker was Farouk Fares who majors in Architecture. He talked about his paintings that helped him to deal with his feelings of quarantine. The eighth student speaker was supposed to be Britney Bajnath but she could not make it to the event. Instead, a video of was shown of the photographs she took during the pandemic. The ninth student speaker was supposed to be Kari Singletary, but she also could not make it to the event. A video was shown where she shared her story on how she became a graduated and registered nurse, along with her experience working in the hospital during the pandemic.

There were 4 student panelists at the event. The first one was Nim Tse, who shared his story of school experience, work positions and the pandemic. The second one was Rami Saeed, who shared his story of quarantine and books. The third one was Abigail Thomas, who is a Student Government officer, a board director for the campus chapter, and the executive vice chair and member of the community collation for students with disabilities. She shared her story of being a transgender woman, non-binary woman, sexual lesbian, hear disabled, learning disabled and a victim of domestic violence. The fourth one was Mamadou Diallo, who majors in Business and Technology of Fashion. She shared his story being raised by his grandmother.

A woman named, “Mijori Goodwin” performed a song named, “Still.” I truly enjoyed her voice and the lyrics. Then the Student Government and Association president, Ngozi Okonkwo introduced herself and announced the special guest speaker, “Staceyann Chin.” She is a poet, actor, performing artist, etc. She talked about a lot of things that consisted of social media, discrimination of race and workplace, along with many more areas that was very educational. During the event, anyone was encouraged to post comments in the chat, along with asking questions at the event.

City Tech’s 40th Annual Literary Arts Festival

CUNY Chancellor Dr. Felix V. Matos made a brief introduction, he thanked the faculty professor and students.

Special thanks to Professor Caroline Hellman for organizing this festival.

“Your story matters, you matter, and we care.” (Caroline Hellman)

There was a display of NYC and City Tech’s school pictures, Professor Jill was remotely dancing =)

There was a brief poll about what is the best borough

Henry Mei told his story about being an student and a teacher at the same time.

Christopher Maglorie, a former student of City Tech and current registered nurse said: “the smallest thing you can do for people can impact them in a very meaningful way.” He told the story of one of his patients. in short, it was a reminder of the power of empathy and kindness.

Damitreze Poe told his story police racial discrimination.

Jesus Rojas told his story as freshman student.

Dannielle Sweat told her story as single mother, full time worker and part time  student.

James Burton told his story about small business, an ice cream shop.

Farouk Fares talked about how painting helped him to deal with the stress of the quarantine and the anger of racism.

Britney Bajnath, a photographer aspiring, told her story about taking pictures during the pandemic.

Kari Singletary, an essential worker, graduated nurse told her story about working in the hospital in times where the biggest influx of Covid-19 cases happened.

As a way to promote participation; there was a poll about how you prefer to show up in zoom in a dressy attire camera on OR in pajamas camera off?

4 panelist joined afterwards

Nim Tse; a Chinese native student, talked about being discriminated for his poor English skills, but in school he discovered that Chemistry was for him. He hopes to serve the community as future physician.

Rami Saeed; told us about his story of how he used the time of the quarantine to read as many as books.

Abigail Thomas; told her story as a transgender woman and stressed us out about being advocates. She said in order to be advocates we do not need money only to be good humans with good intentions.

Mamadou Diallo; described his story about being raised by his grandmother.

Mijori Goodwin sang a song named “still”

Special Guest Poet, actor, and performing artist Staceyann Chin, displayed poetry focused on topics of social media, family, racial discrimination, and the trolls on social media. I agree with her that trolls find “courage” behind a screen, however I disagree with her on the way she “responded” to her troll.   well. it is a tendency of mine, that even if I am insulted, I do not reply with insult. I am proud of that because English is not my first language and I still can find enough words to reply without resourcing to insults nor slangs.


The 40th Annual Literary Arts festival -2021

This festival consisted of several different students sharing their thoughts and own personal experiences on COVID-19 and what they got out of it. They shared their vulnerability and reflected on their situations. I will list and describe 4 students out of many that stood out with their personal experiences.

The first students name is Henry and his video he talked and showed about his daily life routine out of City Tech and how COVID really pushed him to the wall. It changed up his entire lifestyle.

The second student name is Chris and his story really hit me. His story was about working full time while going to school. He worked in the medical field and reveal a relationship with one of his patients he had got to be really close with. His patient had bone cancer and resisted any type of medical treatment, meaning no pills, nor medicine. He had sat down to watch the Kansas city Chiefs playoff game that would soon send Kansas city to the world series. He had asked his patient if he was a football fan and his patient replied to him, “I am more of a track kind of guy”. That question would lead them to a start of a conversation about track and field. Later he would leave the hospital that day after checking on his patient being fast asleep with the hospital wearing an oxygen make and tv on. The next day he would come to work and realize that maybe his patient had switch rooms so he went on to find out what room only to hear, his patient had passed away in the morning. He said he would never forget the last conversation he had with him.

The third student name Damitreze talked about him living in two different worlds. Black and white. He had shared two different encounters he had with police where he was searched with no probable cause. After these two situations, he-came across the idea that maybe he had fit the description.

The forth student named Jesus and he shared his experience spending time in the summer with his friends. Resulting the death of George Floyd, he joined the protest

The last student name Farouk demonstrated 2 paintings on Racial movement.

Extra Credit Opportunity: Literary Arts Festival

Tuesday, April 13th is City Tech’s Literary Arts Festival featuring City Tech students & the amazing poet Staceyann Chin.

The event is free and online this year (via Zoom), but you need to register. You can register here.

As discussed in class, this is an optional event, but I strongly encourage you to attend if you can and to share what you’ve learned with the class. We’ll be discussing more about the event and Staceyann Chin’s work next week when we meet again after Spring Break. In the meantime, you can learn more about her and the event on the Literary Arts Festival website.

If you attend & blog in response by (start of class) on Th 4/15, you will get extra credit (yay!). This extra credit will replace a missing blog if you missed some blogs, or it will count as extra credit if already you did all of your blogs (bonus points). Please note that there are only two grades for this extra credit blog: 100 and 0. If you attend the event and blog your responses/reflections thoughtfully and comprehensively, you will receive 100% (otherwise,  you will receive no credit).

Don’t forget to take notes at the event, so you can include concrete details in your blog. Please categorize your blog as “Literary Arts Festival.”

Hope to see you there 🙂