South Orangetown Central School District

Hepcat event in the TZHS library

In honor of National Poetry Month, the Tappan Zee High School English Honor Society hosted the 23rd Annual Hepcat event last Friday night!

EHS members, along with Hepcat founders and EHS Advisors Sarah McMane and Michael Matulac, transformed the TZHS library into a Beatnik-inspired coffeehouse performance space. In order to create a relaxed and casual atmosphere, key features included dim lighting from table lamps, rugs, pillows and plenty of baked goods.

This year, Hepcat featured 30 performers, with 28 of those being student poets and musicians. EHS President Anastasia A. said, “To me, what makes Hepcat so special is the community that it creates. When you think of high school, you can think it’s ‘cliquey’ but at this event, there is such a welcoming environment with a community of poets, artists and creators.” Secretary Clare M. added, “There is a surplus of creativity in this space and people that are shy and may not speak up in class are willing to open up here.” Treasurer Hela G. noted, “It’s a wonderful community building event and I have met some of my best friends here over the years.”

One of the key highlights of this event for the EHS officers is having the space to share their original work. “It’s really helpful to have the ability to share your work, especially with a room of vulnerable people and creators who are non-judgemental,” explained Co Vice-President Madeline W. “It has really helped me become more confident and comfortable with public speaking.”

EHS officers have all either read original poetry or performed music at Hepcat each year since 2022. Co Vice-President Justin J. said, “During my sophomore and junior year, I performed orchestra pieces with other students and this is the first time that I’m reading poetry, which is pretty exciting.” When talking about the impact that participating in the event has had on each of them throughout their high school career, most officers said that they wrote about Hepcat in their college essays.

Proceeds from the ticket sales and t-shirt sales support English Department scholarships for graduating seniors and upcoming English Honor Society events.