In front of the audience’s watchful eyes, Poetry Out Loud more than 30 contestants shared their version of another artist’s literature.
Contestants recited two poems they had memorized during the four-hour competition on Jan. 12. The winner this year was senior Hannah Oldfield. The runner up was Katlyn Shaw.
“I started sophomore year to try something new and got into it as a hobby,” Oldfield said. “I’m used to the pressure and nerves of performing because of my band experience.”
Oldfield repeated as runner up in the County Competition on Feb. 4 at Rosemont High School. The county competition is composed of 16 schools in the Sacramento region.
“When I competed in the county competition it was really fun and my third time going there. The level was a lot higher, more official and we were on a bigger stage with a microphone,” Oldfield said.
English teacher Adam Bearson is one of the main coordinators of the school compeition.
“I do it so the kids have a connection to poetry. It’s fun for me and fun for the kids,” Bearson said. “It allows students to take ownership of a poem and make it their own.”
Memorizing and sharing the poem aloud aren’t the only factors necessary to participate. Poetry Out Loud places emphasis on the tone and delivery of the piece, given it’s a performance after all.
“Students are expected to decipher and interpret a work of poetry and then recite it,” Bearson said. “It requires deep reading, rhythm and the ability to turn it into their own compelling presentation. All these things together summarize our learnings in English and teach the kids to find emotional experiences with language,”
Participants on Jan.12 were chosen by their teachers and classmates after doing a class performance.
The end goal culminates with the national finals, where the winner gets a prize of $20,000. The second place receives $10,000 and third place gets $5,000.