BIDWELL — River Valley High School students took part in a Poetry Out Loud competition Tuesday in the school’s library where three young women will be moving on to the regional competition to be held in Nelsonville at Stuart’s Opera House.
The event is set to take place Feb. 9 and serves as a regional competition, with placers moving onto the state competition.
“This is our first year doing this,” said RVHS English Teacher Kaleigh Cox. “It sort of fell into our laps and none of the English teachers had done it before.”
Packets featuring the poetry competition material were handed out before Christmas Break and students returned to individual classroom competitions the first day of school.
“Based off of that, we felt more was being done with that than what we imagined,” said Cox.
She credited colleague teacher Stephanie Campbell with holding practices and working with students as Cox assisted students with recent Mock Trial efforts.
“The kids did a lot on their own looking up different readings and listening and practicing,” said Cox. “Judges look for dramatic appropriateness, so you need to be able to understand the poem. Students had to annotate their poem and write an essay and they had to do all that over break.”
Students chose their own poems from the Poetry Out Loud program, which has been held across the country for the last 13 years. Students are judged on their dramatic appropriateness, articulation, evidence of understanding and more. According to poetryoutloud.org,”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…Since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than 3 million students and 50,000 teachers from 10,000 schools in every state, Washington, DC, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.”
Students on Tuesday were judged by Bossard Library Director Debbie Saunders, Gallia County School District Director of Instruction Rochelle Halley, University of Rio Grande Professors Cynthia Graham and Jackson Connor, Rio Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Heather Duta and Gallia County Schools Board of Education President Beth James.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.