Words: Miranda Mason
Photos: Paul Didwall
Ellicott City, MD – On Friday, November 30, 2012, the school-wide Poetry Out Loud (POL) competition took place in the CHS auditorium, with senior Sarika Reddy winning first place, Gabe Lewman with second place and Brianna Richardson as the runner-up.
Seven students, who first competed in their English classes, participated in the event: Sarika Reddy, Gabe Lewman, Brianna Richardson, Julia Zhen, Tahiyat Sheikh, Ona Ichoku and Emma Cooley.
Poetry Out Loud is a poetry recitation competition that students nationwide compete in each year. POL is designed to encourage kids to learn about poetry, along with mastering public speaking and building self-confidence, something English teacher Corey O’Brien believes is important.
“It gives students the opportunity to speak in front of their peers in a formal style. They get to choose their own poems, so it means more to them and they can do more with that,” said O’Brien.
For students, this was a chance to showcase their talents in a way that differs from performing in a play or musical. The school-wide POL competition also gives the top two students who participated the chance to move on to the next stage of Poetry Out Loud.
“I’m so excited. We’ve been preparing for this for weeks, and it’s a wonderful opportunity,” said junior Brianna Richardson before she went on stage for the event.
The first and second place winners, Reddy and Lewman, will move on to the county competition. From there, there is a regional and a state competition before the national event. If either Reddy or Lewman wins at the state level, they will receive $200 and a paid trip to Washington D.C., where the national competition is taking place April 28-30, 2013.