Jacob Brooks, Dairra Wilson win Poetry Out Loud
Published 3:00 am Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Jacob Brooks and Dairra Wilson took top place honors in Charles Henderson High School’s inaugural school-wide “Poetry Out Loud” competition.
Brooks placed first in the anthology competition and Wilson won first place in the original competition.
Brooks recited “To Helen” by Edgar Allen Poe, who is his favorite poet.
“I love the way Edgar Allen Poe is able to take you from a pleasant moment to a dark placed in your mind,” he said. “I enjoy poetry and appreciated this opportunity to compete.”
Wilson chose to recite an original poem, “Lost Father.”
“With this poem, I could feel more of the emotion,” she said. “Poetry is about emotions.”
Carrie Rice, CHHS English teacher, was familiar with the Poetry Out Loud competition and initiated it at Charles Henderson. She is excited and pleased with the number of students who competed.
“We had 16 students and that was excellent for the first year,” Rice said. “We had a large audience and it was a good experience for the students and for all who attended. This was a great school-wide introduction to Poetry Out Loud and to this type of competition.
“Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about literary history and contemporary life.”
The pair will compete in the regional competition to be held December 6 at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Art Auditorium in Auburn.
“I expect them to do well at the regional competition,” Rice said. “It would be exciting for them to advance to the state program at the Shakespeare Theater in Montgomery. They have the ability.”
Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure that starts at the classroom level. Winners advance to a school-wide competition, and then to a regional and/or state competition and ultimately to the National Finals, Rice said.
Each winner at the state level receives $200 and all-expenses paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington, DC to compete for the national championship. The state winner’s school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up in each state receives $100 with $200 for his or her school. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded annually at the National Finals.
“Since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than three million students and 50,000 teachers from 10,000 schools in every state, Washington, D.C. the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico,” Rice said. “It is exciting for Charles Henderson High School to be a part of the program.”