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Poetry Out Loud

posted Feb 21, 2017, 12:04 PM by David Tapp

Let’s Get Loud

By: Kate McCabe


Poetry: the language of love, passion, and expression. Recently, the sophomore class has been studying this emphatic language by participating in the annual Poetry Out Loud contest. Poetry Out Loud is a competition put on by The Poetry Foundation and The National Endowment for the Arts to encourage high school students to learn and explore poetry. Each student in the English 2 classes selected a poem from the eligible works available on the Poetry Out Loud website. They were required to memorize their poems and recite them in front of their peers. Scores were based on their physical presence, voice and articulation and dramatic appropriateness. Additionally, students were judged on their

evidence of understanding and overall performance.The participants who received the highest scores in their class advanced to the finals round.

Of the finalists, one student was chosen from all of Ms. Lowe’s classes, while another student was chosen from all of Ms. Zeman’s classes. These two students progress to the Regional contest in Springfield where they will compete to ultimately earn a generous scholarship, which is awarded to the winner of the state competition.

This year, Kyle Johnson and Abbey Skelton were chosen to represent Eureka High School, with Macy Littell as the alternate.

Abbey’s poem, “The Obligation to Be Happy” by Linda Pastan, is about continually pursuing happiness despite the hardships of life. Abbey, a captain of the dance team, not only connects to her poem personally, but also understands the difficulty in trying to motivate and instill happiness in others. Reflecting on her experience so far, Abbey revealed, “My favorite part was really getting to show my classmates how hard I had worked, when I stood up and performed my poem.”

Contradictory to Abbey’s more optimistic selection, Kyle’s poem, “The American Soldier” by Philip Freneau,  brings to light harsh realities, focusing on the underappreciation of veterans. Providing insight as to why he chose this poem, Kyle commented, “I feel very strongly about patriotism, what the soldiers of this country stand for and what they do. It really resonates with me. This poem talks about veterans and the underappreciation of them, and I see that as an issue in today's society.” His favorite part was watching his peers perform.

As the competition draws nearer, Abbey continues to practice her poem and shares her thoughts on Regionals: “I'm nervous, but I feel prepared.” Additionally, about the upcoming Regional, Kyle stated, “I think it's a great opportunity, and I look forward to it.”

The Regional takes place on Thursday, February 23 in Springfield at the Hoogland Center for Performing Arts at 4:00 PM.

Make sure to show your support and wish both competitors luck as they compete in two days!


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