7th annual Poetry Out Loud competition sends two to Regionals

Twenty one Bethlehem Central High School students competed in the 7th annual Poetry Out Loud competition on Thursday, Jan. 4th in the high school cafeteria. The competing students represented 9th through 11th grades. The students recited two previously published poems and were judged on six categories:

Andrew Rickert poses with Winner, Gabby Richards, Runner-Up Laurel Muench and Honorable Mention Xrysanthi Muench
Andrew Rickert poses with Winner, Gabby Richards, Runner-Up Laurel Muench and Honorable Mention Xrysanthi Muench
  • Physical presence
  • Voice and articulation
  • Dramatic appropriateness
  • Evidence of understanding
  • Overall performance
  • Accuracy

Guest poet and Bethlehem ELA teacher Andy Fogle opened the program by sharing a piece from his latest release, Mother Countries. Andy also served on the judging panel along with ELA K-12 Supervisor, Daniel Hash, teachers Elizabeth Edgar and Alicia Sharp, and Library Media Specialist Justine Nigro.

Seven students advanced to the second round of the competition. Those students were: Claire Aliggayu (10), Jeremy Cintron (10), Bhavyasree Kakarala (10), Sophie Kobayashi (10), Laurel Muench (10), Gabby Richards (10), and Xrysanthi Sokaris (10). After the second round of competition, judges selected a winner and a runner-up, who will compete at the Regional competition next month.

  • Winner: Gabby Richards 
  • Runner-Up: Laurel Muench 
  • Honorable Mention: Xrysanthi Sokaris 

“Poetry Out Loud has helped me to appreciate and discover different poems and poets,” said BCHS sophomore Laurel Muench. “I have greatly improved my literary analysis skills through this experience. I am grateful to have been a part of this celebration of poetry for the past two years!”

The Poetry Out Loud Regional will be held  at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 5:30 p.m. The top contestants from the Regional will be selected to perform at the NYS Poetry Out Loud competition which will be held in New York City in March.

“This year’s contest was one of the most competitive I’ve witnessed in the seven years we’ve hosted the program. I have watched Regional contests with less talent than what was on display tonight. I believe this heightened poetry appreciation amongst our students is a testament to Bethlehem’s K-12 ELA staff, who have fostered a love of poetry throughout our students’ school careers,” said Bethlehem Central High School ELA Teacher and Poetry Out Loud coordinator, Andrew Rickert. “Over the last several years our students have consistently moved beyond the Regional and represent BCHS highly at the State level.”

Group Photo of all of the 2024 Poetry Out Loud Contestants
2024 Bethlehem Central Poetry Out Loud Contestants

The following is a list of contestants and the poems they competed with:

Round 1

  • Claire Aliggayu (10) “Truth is I would like to escape myself” by Nour Al Ghraowi
  • Phoenix Andrews (10) “The Star” by Ann Taylor, Jane Taylor
  • Zayden Cartagena (10) “What to Say Upon Being Asked to be Friends” by Julian Talamantez Brolaski
  • Jeremy Cintron (10) “Mi Casa” by Luis Daniel Salgado
  • Bhavyasree Kakarala (10) “I Eat Breakfast to Begin the Day” by Zubair Ahmed
  • Molly Kirby (10) “How to Triumph Like a Girl” by Ada Limon
  • Quinn Knaub (10) “What the Oracle Said” by Shara McCallum
  • Sophie Kobayashi (10) “1969” by Alex Dimitrov
  • Keiran McNay (10) “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
  • Lauren Muench (10) “Ex Libris” by Eleanor Wilner
  • Emily Murphy (10) “A Certain Kind of Eden” by Kay Ryan
  • Johanna Radcliffe (11) “Black Boys Play the Classics” by Tori Derricotte
  • Maya Ragone (10) “All Hallows’ Eve” by Dorthea Tanning
  • Gabby Richards (10) “End of Summer” by Stanley Kunitz
  • Eleanor Rose (10) “Enough” by Suzanne Buffam
  • Arav Sahu (10) “To Myself” by Franz Wright
  • Cormac Sheehan (10) “Today” by Billy Collins
  • Chloe Sink (9) “Today” by Billy Collins
  • Dylan Singh (10) “Sharks’ Teeth” by Kay Ryan
  • Xrysanthi Sokaris (10) “Stomp” by Nikki Grimes
  • Carmyn Stephens (9) “Choices” by Tess Gallagher

Round 2

  • Claire Aliggayu (10) “My Therapist Wants to Know about my Relationship to Work” by Tiana Clark
  • Jeremy Cintron (10) “Un Tintero” Inkwell by Desiree Alvarez
  • Bhavyasree Kakarala (10) “Invisible Children” by Mariana Llanos
  • Sophie Kobayashi (10) “Violins” by Rowan Ricardo Philips
  • Laurel Muench (10) “Onions” by William Matthews
  • Gabby Richards (10) “Nowhere Else to Go” by Linda Sue Park
  • Xrysanthi Sokaris (10) “In Childhood” by Sarah A. Chavez

Congratulations to Gabby, Laurel, Xrysanthi and all the contestants!