Article Contributed by
Jamestown Public Schools
JHS junior, Gavin Card, won first place in the Western New York Regional Poetry Out Loud competition held in Buffalo on February 2nd. Gavin is headed to Syracuse on March 10th for the New York State Finals, where he will compete against 23 other regional winners from across the state.
In December, twenty-seven JHS students recited poems before an independent panel of judges in the JHS auditorium. Students were evaluated on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, overall performance, and accuracy during their poetry recitation, and the competition was stiff!
The two JHS winners, Gavin Card and senior Matt Leon, traveled to Erie Community College to compete against other western New York high school winners.
Gavin won the Western New York Regional Poetry Out Loud competition at Erie Community College with his recitation of three poems: “After the Disaster” by Abigail Deutsch, “Silence” by Thomas Hood, and “Snow Day” by Billy Collins.
“I decided to enter this year’s JHS Poetry Out Loud competition on a whim,” remarked Gavin. “But reciting has changed the way I feel about poetry. When I started memorizing my poems, I focused mainly on getting all the words down perfectly. Now I feel that that it’s more about sharing with the audience and having fun with the words.”
On March 10, Gavin will travel to Syracuse, New York with JHS English/ Public Speaking teacher, Barbi Price, to compete for the New York State Poetry Out Loud title. The winner of the New York State contest will then proceed to the National Finals at George Washington University in Washington DC, where the winner receives $20,000.00.
“Gavin has a beautiful vocal range and lovely pacing, and he chose poems that showcase the range of his abilities, ” said Mrs. Price. “His previous JHS and community theater experience helped him perform with maturity and confidence.”
Gavin added, “I spent countless hours with Mrs. Price, practicing the poems and talking strategy. We worked out every detail – right down to the clothes that I was wearing. Reciting poetry is so connective; I can really relax and have fun with it.”
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation partner with state arts agencies to create Poetry Out Loud, a program that invites the dynamic aspects of poetry and the spoken word into JHS English classes. Poetry Out Loud helps students master public speaking skills, build self- confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.