A great day for poetry at Poetry Out Loud

School winner Catherine Herrera recites her poem “The Kiss” by Robert Graves.
Photographer Yasmine Soria.

Jeremiah Reyes, Reporter

took the stage once again for the annual school-wide competition called Poetry Out Loud on January 24 at the varsity campus auditorium.

Poetry Out Loud offers students the opportunity to build self-confidence, develop public speaking skills, learn about literary heritage and a chance to earn a $20,000 in scholarship  money. Language and Literature teachers Allison Taylor and Barbara Newton coordinated the event while Assistant Principals Eric Flores and Daniel Kuzma, Librarian Barbara Lynch, and Individuals and
Societies Chairperson Jerry Katzmarek judged the event.

This is the second year of me being a judge, and every year it’s always interesting to see the students that do get up there and show the courage they have at expressing themselves. It’s not something you really get to see often, being a history teacher and all. Every year it seems that they only get better,” said Katzmarek.

Senior Teegan Sambell (Div. 034) and junior Vanessa Rivera (Div. 119) emceed the event.

“Well, first of all, I love the guts of these students–the act that they can go up and perform in front of everybody, I think it is great,” said Sambell.

In the initial round, all grade levels competed in their Language and Literature classes. Classroom winners advanced to the school-wide competition. Students were each required to select a poem to memorize from the Poetry Out Loud website and then perform their own interpretation of that poem. Contestants are scored on their physical presence, voice articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of under-standing and accuracy.

The competition ended with three finalists: Catherine Herrera (Div. 119), Liv Greenfi eld (Div. 412) and Audrey Mendenhall (Div. 119). As finalists, they recited their poems again for a final evaluation. Herrera was named the school-wide winner and advances to the Chicago Regional Competition on February 4 at the Poetry Foundation.

“I try my best to show a lot of character in the things I do. I figured I’ll try my best, let myself do my thing and see what happens. Something about my poem just spoke to me. I just thought that there was a lot I could do, especially with the ending part,” said Herrera.

Congratulations to all the participants of Poetry Out Loud and good luck to Herrera at regionals.