Ninth graders compete in Poetry Out Loud

UPDATE: Congratulations to schoolwide winner Grace Nowacki ’21 and runner up Kiely Callahan ’21. It was an intense competition at the all-school assembly, but the admirable crew of poetry enthusiasts kept their collective cool and read beautifully. A panel of special-guest judges visited campus and awarded top honors to Grace for her amazing performance. Bravo!

On November 16th and 17th, students across the ninth grade took part
in the preliminary round of Waynflete’s Poetry Out Loud competition. A
stunning round of poetry recitations shook Franklin Theater as six
English classes spent three periods performing poems that they had
chosen, studied, memorized, and made their own through months of hard work, guided practice, and one-on-one feedback from teachers and peers alike. Our students brought to life words by poets from Thomas Wyatt to Maya Angelou, sometimes making us laugh, sometimes bringing us close to tears, but always bringing their own voices, quirks, and insights into texts both recent and ancient.

An impressive set of performances made it difficult to judge the
competition, but in the end thirteen ninth graders from Sarah
Macdonald’s and John Radway’s English classes advanced to the next
round of Poetry Out Loud. We would like to congratulate Owen Anderson, Joey Ansel-Mullen, Kiely Callahan, Eliza Clark, Elsa Hersey, Henry Lennig, Hope McSherry, Mia Mizner, Grace Nowacki, Julian Ray, Tyler Ren, Semma Twining, and Nahum Yehdego, all of whom will once again perform at a school-wide assembly on December 7th.

We would all like to thank Tiki Fuhro, who helped the ninth graders
find the dramatic voices hidden within their poems, and Claudia
Hughes, who served as our official judge for this initial round of the

Finally, many thanks to the students themselves, without whose good
will, curiosity, and unflagging energy an event like this would not be
possible. The following are just a few of the comments from our
students after participating in Poetry Out Loud this year:

“I always enjoyed poetry because it’s like a special outlet for me. It
helped me realize the importance of words and how powerful they are.”

“This project helped me discover deeper meaning in short poems. I also appreciate the process of memorization more because it was harder than I thought.”

“I saw the other side of poetry, the expressive and imaginative side
where people can articulate what they want to express through either
their words or someone else’s.”

Poetry Out Loud is a nationwide competition. The winner of the
December competition at Waynflete will advance to a regional
competition to be held in 2018; after that comes a statewide
competition, and finally a national event. Stay tuned for more news as
the process continues!

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