Poetry Out Loud students gear up for competition

Since 2006, Poetry Out Loud has been a contest that allows students from all over to compete. Poetry Out Loud helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about literary history and contemporary life. 

This year competitors will pick two poems—one from the pre 20th century and one with 25 lines for fewer. Word on whether Regionals and State will be held in person or not are still coming soon, but Nationals for sure will be virtual this year due to Covid-19. 

Several students are competing this year including Hannah Batterson who won State and Ella Hertz who was runner up. Hertz chooses to do Poetry Out Loud because, “I really like poetry and being able to recite it with peers makes it even more fun.” 

According to Hertz, competition can be very challenging and nerve breaking; however, she said, “Competing gives you a rush, and it’s a unique way you get to share your emotions while it can be terrifying at the same time it’s freeing.” 

While practicing or competing, a teacher is involved and in charge. Media specialist Abby Hendrickson is that leader and said,  “Watching kids make discoveries as they dig deep into poems they chose is a great sight to see. It’s like they were drawn to it.” 

Hendrickson also coached last year when she worked at Peet Junior High. 

To any students who are thinking about Poetry Out Loud, Hendrickson said that, “It’s a great way to practice life performance with your peers. Everyone encourages each other. Poetry is undervalued and in this you get the chance to get to do something for fun rather than grades or English class. It’s a great appreciation of the arts.” 

Nationals this year will be in spring and based on video submissions. Hendrickson said Poetry Out Loud helps participants build a wide variety of skills, including, “Physical presence, 

self confidence, voice articulation, speaking with purpose, memorization skills, analyzation techniques and much more.” 

Below is a picture of last year’s runner up, Hertz, and Hendrickson. 

Ella Hertz says, “Rumi is one of my favorite poets. A famous quote of his is, ‘Respond to every call that excites your spirit.’ ”


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