On January 12th, fourteen Hopewell Valley Central High School students participated in a Poetry Out Loud competition at high school. The competition was part of the national Poetry Out Loud competition, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, which culminates in a national competition held in Washington D.C.
Schools hold a competition to recognize a school champion, who continues on to a regional competition. Winners from the regional competition proceed to the state competition, and one winner is awarded from each state to compete at the national competition in Washington D.C. during National Poetry Month in April.
At the end of the HVCHS competition, sophomore Lucy Glover was named school champion, with senior Tommy Vite and sophomore Madeline Carleton named as 1st and 2nd runners up, respectively.
“I got involved with the competition at my previous school, and when I started here, there was already student interest,” said club advisor and CHS teacher, Kathryn Henderson. “Students have to select poetry from the Poetry Out Loud database, which has over a thousand poems — so it’s not just Byron, Shelley and Shakespeare — it’s really modern and kind of radical stuff, which really challenges them.”
Preparation for the school competition began in September, with students selecting two poems from the Poetry Out Loud anthology to prepare. Students are evaluated on physical presence, accuracy of recitation, evidence of understanding and overall articulation and performance. The students were evaluated by a panel of six judges made up of Sara Graja, 6-12 Supervisor of Language Arts and Social Studies, CHS principal Tana Smith and CHS teachers Theresa Solomon, Ryan Tobin, Robert O’Boyle and Rebecca Lewark. At the end of the night, the judges selected a school champion and two runners-up. The school champion, Lucy Glover, will compete at regionals.
This is the second year that CHS has held a Poetry Out Loud competition. The Poetry Out Loud club at CHS was founded in 2015, by seniors Claire King and Sydney Malone. The three winners of the school competition were invited to perform at the Board of Education meeting on Monday, January 23rd at the Board Office.