Jamael “Isaiah” Clark
Isaiah overcame the fear of public speaking and hating poetry by joining the Spoken Word club his junior year at Oak Park & River Forest High School. His high school spoken word career resulted in performing in four showcases, competing in the junior poetry slam finals, performing a rap at OPRF’s Martin Luther King Jr. assembly, and competing in the finals at the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Competition before graduating in 2009. In 2012, Isaiah founded a Student Association recognized spoken word organization at Northern Illinois University called Impact Mākars. At the University of Illinois at Chicago he conducted research on how poetry can enhance student engagement. His project, “To Be Engaged or Not To Be Engaged? Poetry In The Classroom Answers The Question” won the “Outstanding Oral Presentation” award at the Illinois Summer Research Symposium after he presented it in spoken word style. Jamael is on a mission to initiate Impact Mākars in Oak Park to pioneer artrepreneurs [sic] in leveraging spoken word poetry to overcome the fears holding them back from transcending the human spirit with their creative ideas.