Telling stories through poetry

Sophomores bring back annual poetry recitation competition.

For the first time since the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020, the competition Poetry Out Loud returned to the stages. The school-wide competition took place on Friday, Feb. 10.

Over the course of the weeks leading up to the competition, all sophomores were tasked with memorizing a poem to perform in front of their Language Arts class. The Poetry Out Loud organization has a website with a variety of poems to choose from, ranging in length, style, and theme. 

After performing the poem to the class, students voted on who would move on to the schoolwide competition. Students had a few weeks to prepare and used a variety of methods to memorize their poems. Maggie MacKenzie, sophomore, was one of the contestants in the competition.

“I use a lot of the same memorization techniques I use for theater,” MacKenzie said. “So I start with one line, and then two, and build up till I get to the end of the poem. And then I just run it a few times.” 

The 16 competing students performed two poems each and were assessed by a panel of judges on accuracy and presentation. 

Ashley Ducsik, sophomore, performed in the competition and won first place. She has the chance to move on to regionals, while also winning a trip to Washington, D.C.

“I found a really great poem and immediately, it just clicked,” Ducsik said. “I really love this poem, [which] made it so much more fun to perform. And it wasn’t like I was just doing it because I had to. And I think that’s how I put so much emotion into it.” 

The judges picked three winners. Ducsik took first, Rowan Sechrist won second place, and third place went to Katie Olson. 

As Sechrist and Ducsik have the chance to move to regionals, they are required to submit a video of them performing their poems and then judges will decide which of them gets to move on. 

To watch the Poetry Out Loud performance, you can watch the recording on the wlhsNOW YouTube channel.