Asha Pimentel Reyes: Growing in Poetry


Photo by Caelin Cox

Asha Pimental Reyes, 11, joined debate her freshman year, and plans to continue throughout her high school experience.

Bryanna Owens, Staff Writer

Junior Asha Pimentel Reyes nervously stands in front of her fellow competitors and begins to recite pieces of “Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out” by Richard Siken. In hopes of broadening her public speaking skills, Reyes decided to join debate her freshman year. 

“I did the intro class. I wasn’t in the club or anything because of COVID and stuff. So I kind of joined it on a whim,” Reyes said. “I thought it would be an easy class to do, and my best friend was in it. Then I ended up falling in love with it.”

There are different types of speech and debate categories. Reyes competes in Prose and Poetry, where she finds pieces of poetry or prose to compile together and recite. 

“It’s not at every competition. It’s at the bulk of them though,” Reyes said. “So I probably did maybe five or six [last year].”

Reyes started writing poetry in middle school and now is being published in Mister Magazine, a small indie magazine.

“I got in through a writer I follow making an Instagram post about the [magazine], which led me to look into it,” Reyes said. “It’s definitely helped me get a grasp of what the writing process for some poets can be, and has made me consider how I want my work to be read, which in turn makes me think harder about the meaning and tone of the works I read.”

Madeline Torres, Reyes’s best friend since seventh grade, is the president of the debate team.

“While I haven’t seen Asha compete, I’ve seen her practice. She is very passionate when she speaks and doesn’t stop until her work is perfect,” Torres said. “Asha’s best skill in Debate is her speech skills and ability to get along with everyone. Asha should be remembered for building our speech side of the program back up after Covid.”

Reyes plans on leaving an impact on speech and debate after she graduates high school. 

“I want to make a lasting foundation for when [the other officers and I] graduate, that is my biggest goal,” Reyes said. “I’m also very dedicated to growing the speech events and showing how valuable public speaking can be.”