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Poetry Out Loud recitation contest

Filed in BCHS, Student Spotlight by on January 17, 2018
group of students holding certificates

On Thursday, Jan. 11, twenty-two BCHS students gathered after school for the chance to represent the school in the national Poetry Out Loud recitation contest. The contest encourages students to develop an appreciation of poetry and learn more about it through memorization and recitation. 

The two top Bethlehem finishers will move on to represent BCHS at the regional Poetry Out Loud competition to be held at the Bulmer Telecommunications Center at Hudson Valley Community College on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 6 p.m.

They are:

  • Sarah Marshall (Gr. 11), who finished first with her recitation of On the Death of Anne Bronte by Charlotte Bronte.
  • Caroline Mentes (Gr. 9) who was runner-up. Caroline recited Good People by W.S. Merwin.

A judging panel comprised of several teachers used a rubric to score each student’s recitation on several factors including: physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, and evidence of understanding.

Winners from next month’s regional competition at HVCC will move on to a state competition in March. State champions from all over the country will then convene in Washington DC in April for a national recitation competition. Poetry Out Loud is sponsored jointly by The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

In addition to getting students more interested in poetry, Poetry Out Loud helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. 

The program was brought to Bethlehem by teachers in the school’s English Department who held class-level poetry recitations leading up to the school competition.

“I like that it challenges students to look beyond the words on the page and examine the root of why the poet wrote their piece,” said teacher Andrew Rickert, who is new to Bethlehem this year and helped spearhead the BC Poetry Out Loud contest. “Students can really identify with a poem after spending time with it and watching others perform brings out a new appreciation of poetry overall.

“I look forward to helping this become a regular program at BC,” Rickert said.

Students who participated were enthusiastic about seeing Poetry Out Loud continue.

“I had never thought too much about poetry,” said Emma Edgar, a ninth grade participant in the afterschool event. “I found that I really enjoy it.”

Congratulations to all of this year’s participants in the BC Poetry Out Loud event:

  • Christina Armbruster, 11th grade 
  • Kelly Cusack, 11th grade
  • Emma Edgar, 9th grade
  • Derin Gumustop, 11th grade 
  • Eli Horwitz, 9th grade
  • Dawson Houck, 10th grade
  • Kai Isachsen, 12th grade 
  • Sammi Keller, 11th grade 
  • Lizzy Kloss, 9th grade
  • Anna Maker, 11th grade 
  • Isabella Maritato, 9th grade
  • Sarah Marshall, 11th grade 
  • Caroline Mentes, 9th grade
  • Sheila Moloney, 11th grade 
  • Olivia Namkoong, 11th grade 
  • Grant Napierski, 11th grade
  • Shay Roberts, 9th grade
  • Shannon Ryan, 11th grade
  • Nya Santeliz, 9th grade
  • Holliday Sims, 10th grade
  • Abby Taylor, 11th grade
  • Mackenzie Townsend, 10th grade

View photo album on the district’s Facebook page.