Poetry Out Loud 2018

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On Friday, January 26 Harding held their 4th annual Poetry Out Loud competition. Preston Cates placed 1st, Thomas Rovery placed 2nd, and Maia Bennett placed 3rd. Preston will represent Harding at the state competition March 9-10 at the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum in Nashville.

Poetry Out Loud is national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. Similar to the National Spelling Bee, the competition begins at the classroom level as participating teachers use the Poetry Out Loud toolkit to teach poetry recitation and run classroom competitions. Students select, memorize, and recite poems from an anthology of more than 900 classic and contemporary poems. Each school champion will then go on to the State Finals in Nashville, where the winner will receive $1,000, as well as a trip with his or her teacher to represent Tennessee in Washington D.C. at the National Poetry Out Loud Finals. The winning student of the National Finals will receive $20,000

Click here for more information about Poetry Out Loud and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

At Harding all students from grades 7-12 memorize and recite one poem in classroom competitions. Those classroom winners from grades 9-12 then memorize another poem and compete against one another with two recitations. Ten students from grades 9-12 were judged the best of the best: Maia Bennett, junior; Jocelyn Bringht, sophomore; Preston Cates, junior; Maggie Conlee, junior; Kelsey Force, senior; Charlotte Godat, sophomore; Jada Laws, junior; Thomas Rovery, junior; Alton Taylor, junior; and DeLaney Viner, freshman.

The competition:

Melanie Semore, Upper School Principal
Cara McHugh, former Education and Community Director of Tennessee Shakespeare Company
Dr. Bill Srygley, former Bible and speech teacher at Harding

Round 1
Alton Taylor “Domestic Situation”
Kelsey Force “Anthology of Rain”
Maggie Conlee “More Lies”
Delaney Viner “Not Waving But Drowning”
Jada Laws “Hip Hop Ghazal”
Preston Cates “Domestic Situation”
Jocelyn Bringht “Propositions”
Maia Bennett “Diameter”
Charlotte Godat “Holy Sonnets: Death Be Not Proud”
Thomas Rovery “The Unforgiven”

Round 2
Delaney Viner “The Promise”
Maia Bennett “Burning the Old Year”
Jocelyn Bringht “Negative”
Preston Cates “Eating Poetry”
Thomas Rovery “The Ocean”
Charlotte Godat “Serenade”
Jada Laws “The Darker Sooner”
Maggie Conlee “Self-Employed”
Alton Taylor “If We Must Die”
Kelsey Force “A Display of Mackerel”


The winners:

2nd runner up–Maia Bennett

1st runner up–Thomas Rovery

Winner–Preston Cates

Photos from today's competition: