Annual “Poetry Out Loud” contest celebrates the art fom


Katie Butler

The annual “Poetry Out Loud”  contest took place on December 4th and 6th of 2019. 

“I thought they were phenomenal,” said Ms. Lakeisha O’Neal, Tallwood high school librarian, and judge of the contest.  “They really worked hard and you could tell that they cared about what they were presenting,” stated O’Neal.  O’Neal had the pleasure of judging the participants when asked what the judges were looking for. “We’re looking at the stage presence, the ability to remember and recite the poem with expression, and a true understanding of what the poem was about,” claimed O’ Neal.

The contest was held during Lion Lunch where classmates and friends were welcome to support the contestants.

Gyzelle Kay Bagsic, an academy freshman at Tallwood High School claimed that she decided to participate because she was interested in poetry. Mr. DeMott, the first year Academy English teacher always has his students try-out for Poetry Out Loud. 

A challenge for all participants is to have the poem memorized and executing with emotions.  “I practiced at home and got some information from my teachers and peers on how I should perform,” said Bagsic.

Some teachers have their students compete as an assignment for class, but others don’t.  “Last year I did it because Mr. DeMott made me do it and this year I got extra credit in Mr. Denvir’s class, but besides that, I really like poetry,” says Academy sophomore Ava Sailey.  Sailey made it to the semi-finals of the contest and seems to have a great understanding of what the judges are looking for.

“Of course I’ll be participating next year!” says Sailey.  Her favorite poem is on the Poetry Out Loud website.

Another Academy sophomore who successfully made it to the semi-finals was Olivia Cordero.  Her best advice on getting all the way to the semi-finals was to “memorize your poems earlier, like at least a week or two before” and “circle where you should emphasize where emotions are important.”  Cordero plans on participating again next year because “I like speaking it [poetry] in front of other people.”

All in all, the Poetry Out Loud contest is always a great way for students to express themselves and have their own voice.