Poetry Out Loud inspires students

SPFHS’s best poetry reciters competed in the schools finals for the “Poetry Out Loud” competition on Wednesday, Jan. 17th, to determine who would move on to regional finals.

Poetry out loud is a nationwide poetry reciting competition, created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, where students from across the country compete, and are judged on reciting works of poetry. The poetry can be anything from self made, to works written by famous poets.

The competition lasted the whole school day, with 15 students all beautifully reciting works of poetry, and about 3-5 students from each grade level competing. Teachers Heidi Novik and Allison Weigel spent months preparing for the event.

The students came nicely dressed, fully prepared to move the audience with their recitations. After a long and successful day of performances, Sophomore Cheyenne Jones won first place, and will be representing SPFHS in the regional competition, with Sophomore Jessica Lancaster winning second, and Senior Jesse Buckridee winning third.

“It was really frustrating and [I was] nervous,” winner Cheyenne Jones said. “But I won and I really didn’t know or think I was going to win! It feels amazing.”

The competition was comically hosted by Senior Jack Lynch, one of the classroom winners who was promoted to MC. The day was not only full of talent, but also laughs. Both teachers and audience were grateful for his humorous commentary.

“It was fun,” said Lynch. “I had a good time and loved making everyone laugh. Everyone who presented was phenomenal. They did a great job.”

In school, many English teachers held classroom poetry competitions during their period. After choosing a classroom winner, that person moves onto the grade level competition. Then the best students from each grade level move onto the final in-school competition, held in the auditorium.

The Poetry Out loud Competition hopes to inspire students with confidence, as well as expose them and peak their interest in the world of poetry. It also helps students learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation, and excel in oratory skills.

“I think it’s going to enhance my public speaking, and my confidence,” said Jones. “I really hope to do something again like this, and encourage others to.”

The teachers running the event and all the students who participated in the competition put many hours into practicing and preparing for the event, and did an outstanding job!

Katya Avila is a Junior at Scotch-Plains Fanwood high school. She is a staff writer for the Fanscotian, and loves writing for the fashion blog.
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