Centennial Hosts Annual Poetry Out Loud Competition

Words: Delanie Tucker and Madison Baltimore

Photos: Sayak Maity

Poetry Out Loud, an annual Centennial tradition, took place on December 13 during periods five and six.

“Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation competition that is a collaboration among different organizations,” said Corey O’Brien, the school-site coordinator and English teacher at Centennial. “Students do not perform the poems, but bring them to life with their voices, in a way becoming the poems.”

Students recited poems of their choice from the Poetry Out Loud official website.

Poushali Banerjee, Sarah Donyaee, Sam Melicosta, Kieran Newell, Carolyn Reynolds, Masha Samokhvalova, Malika Shah, Daniyar Sheets, Selaya Smithery, Philip Wang, and Ashley Xu were featured in this year’s competition, reciting poems such as “Abandoned Farmhouse” by Ted Kooser and “Catch A Little Rhyme” by Eve Merriam.

“It starts in the classroom with classroom competition. The winners from those go to the school competition. And we send one winner to the regional competition,” O’Brien stated. “I think we’ve had 3 [students] who have placed at regionals go to states.

“I can’t say how I heard about it, like 7 or 8 years ago,” O’Brien continued, speaking on how long it has been running at Centennial. “But I thought it would be a good activity for Advanced Composition to get involved with it.”

The winner of the competition was Banerjee, with Shah in second and Smithery in third.

“Mrs. McDonough-Schlehr and [National English Honor Society] actually organizes the school competition, though. I just make sure we have the space and the people ready to go. Beyond the school competition, the Maryland State Arts Council organizes [Poetry Out Loud] for the state of Maryland,” O’Brien said, giving credit to those who made the event possible.

Banerjee will advance to the Region Two competition on January 19, 2019.

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