Freshman team compete in Poetry Out Loud

Kira Cleer, Staff Writer

“Once upon a time, I caught a little rhyme, I set it on the floor, but it ran right out the door.” Jeremy Mckay says as he recites Catch Little Rhyme by Eve Merriam.

This, along with many other poems, were recited by 17 freshmen at the first annual Poetry Out Loud National Recitation contest. Armed with only a microphone and their chosen poems, students competed for the chance to move on to compete in the state finals in East Lansing for a prize of $200, an all expense paid trip to Washington D.C. to compete in national finals, and a $500 stipend for their school to spend on books.

“This is the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation contest. All of our students participated in classroom contests. A winner was picked from each class and now they’re competing here.” English teacher Mrs. Mary Shafto says, “This encourages students to learn great poetry through memorization and recitation.”

Students picked two poems to memorize and recite from famous poets such as Robert Frost, Edgar Allen Poe, and Queen Elizabeth I. The three judges were Howell High School Freshmen Campus Assistant Principal Amy Pashak, 17 year English teacher Suzanne Hosner, and 30 year college English teacher Janice Hayatt. Students were judged on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, level of complexity, evidence of understanding, and overall performance.

First place went to Anna Stocker who won a book of poetry and the opportunity to compete in the state finals on Friday March 13. John Tucker and Amanda Bock took 2nd and 3rd place, respectively.

“I chose “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost. It stood out to me because I read it in 8th grade and when I was four my parents divorced and I had to pick which was better just like he’s trying to pick if it’s better for the world to end in fire or ice,” Maxim Race says on his inspiration for picking Robert Frost’s “Fire and Ice”.