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Poetry Out Loud 2019

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On Tuesday, January 15 Harding held their 5th annual Poetry Out Loud competition. Jada Laws placed 1st, Cole Dunham placed 2nd, and Maia Bennett placed 3rd. Jada will represent Harding in the State Finals Competition March 1-2 at the Tennessee State 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.

All Harding students, grades 9-12 participated in classroom competitions by reciting one poem, and those classroom champions then competed to determine these eight finalists.

Below are the student finalists, the title of their two memorized poems, a link to the text of the poem, the contest winners, and the judges.

Maia Bennett 
“Anthem for Doomed Youth” https://www.poetryoutloud.org/poems-and-performance/poems/detail/47393
“An Apology For Her Poetry” https://www.poetryoutloud.org/poems-and-performance/poems/detail/55588 

Sophia Carpenter 
“Self-Portrait” https://www.poetryoutloud.org/poems-and-performance/poems/detail/42310
“Strange!” https://www.poetryoutloud.org/poems-and-performance/poems/detail/47866 

Naomi Carter 
“To the Desert”  https://www.poetryoutloud.org/poems-and-performance/poems/detail/46563
“Perhaps the World Ends Here” https://www.poetryoutloud.org/poems-and-performance/poems/detail/49622 

Cole Dunham
“The Obligation to Be Happy” https://www.poetryoutloud.org/poems-and-performance/poems/detail/39788  
“Possible Answers to Prayer” https://www.poetryoutloud.org/poems-and-performance/poems/detail/47673 

Avery Holdeman 
“Love’s Philosophy” https://www.poetryoutloud.org/poems-and-performance/poems/detail/50262
“One Art” https://www.poetryoutloud.org/poems-and-performance/poems/detail/47536 

Jada Laws 
“Let the Light Enter” https://www.poetryoutloud.org/poems-and-performance/poems/detail/53724
“One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII” https://www.poetryoutloud.org/poems-and-performance/poems/detail/49236 

David Long 
“The Kiss” https://www.poetryoutloud.org/poems-and-performance/poems/detail/54011
“Piano” https://www.poetryoutloud.org/poems-and-performance/poems/detail/44580 

Anela Meesemboon
“An Apology For Her Poetry” https://www.poetryoutloud.org/poems-and-performance/poems/detail/55588  
“Dead Butterfly” https://www.poetryoutloud.org/poems-and-performance/poems/detail/51201

Judges
Marquavious Moore (‘17), 2017 Poetry Out Loud Tennessee State Champion
Upper School Principal Mrs. Melanie Semore
Dr. Bill Srygley, former Bible and speech teacher at Harding

The winners:

More pictures from the Poetry Out Loud competition: