Poetry out loud helps enrich students learning

Seven finalists competed in the first annual Poetry Out Loud competition at West Linn High School on Feb. 27. Finalists gathered in Andy West’s room, language arts teacher, in the name of the written word—and to compete before judges Mark Martens, assistant principal, Alex Close, language arts teacher, and Monica Emerick, social studies teacher, and a crowd of approximately 75-90 people.

Amanda Elich, freshman, Hope Gilbert, Sophia Pesetti,  Brett Hazel,  Luke Marcille, Marcus Stewart, and Anna Keil, sophomores, who were winners from West’s, Glenn Krake’s and Ann Breyne’s english classes competed.

Stewart won the competition with his poem “The End of Science Fiction by Lisel Mueller” It wowed the students as well as the judges. He advanced to regionals which took place on March 9.

“ I loved The End of Science Fiction because of the repetition,” Chloe Mankin, freshman, said

“I really enjoyed the competition,” Danika Odell, freshman said. “I liked Full Moon,” she said of Keil’s rendition of the poem by  Robert Hayden.

 The WLHS Poetry Out Loud experience started in the language arts classrooms, helping students to become comfortable with speaking the written word. One of the finalists, Elich, was grateful to be involved in the experience.

“What is gratifying about the experience is to be noticed as a good speaker, and be up there and see the people stare at you and think— wow she’s very good,” Elitch said.

Elitch recognizes that the competition isn’t always about the poetry itself as much as it is the skills gained.

“I used to be so afraid to go up in front of crowds, but with this I have learned to go up in front of people and not be as nervous,” Elich said.

Teachers are already talking about expanding the competition for next year

“When it comes to memorizing poetry, we‘re all winners,” West said.