Sassett West said she had no idea how much her life would change when she won the S.P.A.R.K. competition Dec. 1.
Now crammed into a usually hectic schedule filled with homework assignments, shifts at Ryan’s after school, and household chores, the Davidson Fine Arts School senior is interviewing for newspaper and magazine articles and posing for publicity pictures.
She can barely find time to compose the poetry that she loves so much.
It took a week and half for it to sink in that she had won the televised performance competition, she said.
“I had to wake up at 5 in the morning the very next day to go to work, so it never sunk in that I actually won and that this is really happening until like a week and a half later, because I was just go go go ever since then,” she said.
During the S.P.A.R.K. competition, which stands for Speaking Poetically And Remixing Knowledge, each of 12 contestants performed original pieces before an audience and a panel of judges. Every three weeks or so, two contestants with the lowest scores were eliminated.
West, whose passion is spoken-word poetry, said that when she first learned of the competition on Facebook, she just had to audition.
“(It was) nervewracking, but it was fun, though,” she said.
As the winner, she will perform in Atlanta, Indiana and North Carolina. A director from Atlanta will work with her on a short film that will feature her poetry.
She will also collaborate with five other artists to create new works.
“I cannot wait,” she said.
Her talent isn’t limited to poetry.
West got into Davidson in sixth grade on her drawing ability.
Though she hates painting, she has a passion for sketching still life.
Last week, she completed a pixilated replica of the Mona Lisa in colored pencil. She’s been working on it since the school year began.
“I wanted it pixilated (to) add a new age to a classic picture,” she said.
Her rendition of an exterior wall of the school was chosen for the Principal’s Artist Award. It will be professionally framed and will hang in the school for the remainder of West’s life, she said.
As much as she loves drawing, she hopes her spoken-word performances will earn her international notariety.
But that is only one dream.
The other is more grounded in reality, she said. After graduating in May, West plans to study forensic science at Georgia State University, if she is accepted.
Through watching crime shows like CSI Miami and Criminal Minds, she has discovered an interest in solving cases through studying evidence.
She said she’s drawn to the puzzle-solving and psychological aspects of the field and said even if she does become famous for her poetry, she will still want to become a forensic scientist.
“(Poetry is) a side dream. I still want to be in forensic science. It is what I want to do on the side. I’ll never stop doing that,” she said.