Poetry Out Loud Finalists Announced

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Poetry Out Loud Finalists Announced

By Divitya Vakil

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After grueling rounds of competition within several English classes, the Poetry Out Loud finalists were announced this morning. Congratulations to Michael D., Claire E., Gina K., Nick I., Haris M., Angelyna M., Charlotte N., Leslie O., Priyanka P., Dany R., Kylie R., Freskida S., and Willow W.

At first, freshman Freskida Sejdiu did not want to participate in the nationally recognized competition, but ended up enjoying reciting a poem to her class.
“It was an assignment that everyone had to do, and at first I wasn’t interested at all,” Sejdiu said. “Then I actually went on their [Poetry Out Loud’s] website and thought it wasn’t too bad. I am a little nervous about the next round though, since it wasn’t too hard to go up in front of my class and speak.”
Sophomore English teacher Sharon Swanson thinks that Poetry Out Loud is a great experience and would recommend it to anyone that is interested. Swanson is one of the many English teachers that scored class poetry recitations to determine who should become a finalist. Items on the rubric include physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, and overall performance.
“I grade students based on the rubric, so it is pretty clear what the guidelines are,” Swanson said. “I think it [Poetry Out Loud] is a great experience for many reasons, like understanding poetry and public speaking.”
One of Swanson’s students, Angelyna Madrid, is thrilled that she was one of the few selected for this opportunity.
“I honestly was not expecting for this to happen,” Madrid said. “I just think its a huge honor. I am a little nervous but excited for the next round.”
These finalists will have to perform an additional poem on Wednesday, Feb. 15, another late start day, in order to advance to level of school-wide finalists. Those students will then represent Niles West in the national Poetry Out Loud competition.