Howe Sound Secondary's first poet laureate debuts back-to-school poem | Squamish Chief

Howe Sound Secondary's first poet laureate debuts back-to-school poem

The Squamish student's spoken-word animation has been viewed over 1,100 times

With the school year now in full swing, Howe Sound Secondary's first poet laureate is reflecting on what it means to embrace the new normal.

In a manner fitting of her title, Sophia Katramadakis expressed this sentiment in a spoken word poem, New Normal, that's been viewed on YouTube over 1,100 times as of Sept. 24.

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The short film, narrated by Katramadakis, is also animated by the Grade 12 student.

With visuals and verses, it speaks to the new conditions faced by society as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will likely be just one of the things Katramadakis does in her new role, which was recently created by the high school's English department.

Katramadakis said she found out that teachers had chosen her to become the first poet laureate for this school year when summer started.

"I was really excited just to be able to share my work with everybody, and I think it gives me a really cool platform to do that," she said.

Katramadakis said she's had a lifelong love for writing.

She credits her teachers for nurturing her interest, especially Heather Lewis and Paul Demers.

"It definitely played a huge role in everything," she said.

Katramadakis said her craft came naturally to her.

As a child, she would journal and write in her diary. She also attended Squamish Montessori, where the atmosphere encouraged her to write and perform poetry.

Judging by her latest work, it's clear she's had a lot of practice with writing.

However, the animation was new for her. She said she animated the video frame by frame — all 1,300 of them.

"I do make a lot of videos, but I haven't branched out into animation," said Katramadakis. "But I was thinking I wanted to do an animation so I could express my metaphors and my similes in a visual way. And I thought maybe making an animation would allow me to do that."

After that, she started writing the poem in segments.

First, she'd write down her thoughts, then she'd animate it. The process repeated itself until she had a finished work in her hands.

She said her main goal was to encourage a message of hope.

"During these uncertain times, I want to encourage optimism for the future," said Katramadakis.

She also wanted to acknowledge many students back at school feel uncertainty, doubt and anxiety.

These are all things that these are normal sentiments to have, given the circumstances of the pandemic, she said.

Katramadakis also said that finding an artistic outlet is a great way for people to take care of themselves.

"I also want to encourage creativity and self-expression, which I feel is also very important during the pandemic."


— New Normal —

By Sophia Katramadakis

The term "New normal,"

Woven around the tapestry of society.

Attempting to hold us safely, though loose threads hang like jungle vines.

The term "New normal,"

Anything but a routine.

Each day a new curve, swoop, spill, or spiral.

The past year appearing like a Jackson Pollock collage.

The term "New Normal" weighs us down like heavy groceries, causing unwanted stress throughout our fragile veins.

As if a child on their first day of school.

We've all been there.

You know,

When your heart rate decides to rise like butterflies comprised of nerves and angst. Flying into the unknown reality of what we now consider normality.

We feel unstable.

Like a child walking for the first time, Avoiding the fall so we crawl

A fear of standing tall so we stall in our own footprints.

But it's normal.

It all is.

Every thought of dismay telling you to stay away from the mere thought of a new day, attempting to pray away the grey that seems to follow.

But it's okay.

Time will move forward.

And the clarity of life will soon develop like a polaroid picture.

As if untangling a ball of loose threads.

Slowly unwinding like tightly braided hair.

Every wave of uncertainty that tries to envelop your confidence like a blanket of doubt can be harnessed to propel you in the right direction.

Even though the mystery of times ahead may try to hold you captive like a prisoner — just acknowledge that these feelings are new, but also normal.

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