Poetry contest winners have a way with words

Eight students competed in Poetry Out Loud competition at Washington County Public Schools headquarters

January 18, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION |
  • Brianne Wade of Boonsboro High School recites an Edgar Alllen Poe poem on her way to a first-place finish Wednesday at the Poetry Out Loud contest at Washington County Public Schools' central office on Commonwealth Avenue in Hagerstown.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Brianne Wade loves the moment when she gets a "deep connection" with a piece of poetry she is reading on stage.

The Boonsboro High School student apparently knows how to do it right, given her first-place finish in the Poetry Out Loud competition held Wednesday afternoon at the Central Office of Washington County Public Schools in Hagerstown.

Eight students competed in the event. Two other top winners will join Wade in a regional competition at the Washington County Fine Arts Museum on Feb. 11 at 1 p.m.

Joining Wade at the regional competition will be Bryce Boyd, who was the second-place winner, and third-place winner Kaleb Singleton.

Boyd is a student at Heritage Academy, and Singleton is a student at Washington County Technical High School.

The other students competing were Zora Chalkley and Blake Ridgeway of Boonsboro High School; John Collin Poyle and Stephen Brewer of Heritage Academy; and Jonathan Shank of Washington County Technical High School.

Wade, who recited the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe and Arthur O'Shaughnessy, said she has always enjoyed poetry but became more interested in it in ninth grade when she took a drama class. Part of the grade for the class was determined by poetry readings, the 16-year-old student said.

For two rounds in Wednesday's competition, students read works by poets like William Ernest Henley, A.E. Stallings, Christina Rossetti and John Clare.

Each student read a poem in Round 1 then read a different one in Round 2. Students were judged for physical presence, their command of the stage, and the volume and pacing in their voices.

The students gestured, used a variety of expressions and chose the delivery of their words carefully in the afternoon competition.

Deanna Nikaido, regional coordinator for the Poetry Out Loud competition, praised the students for the "immense amount of courage" to get up on stage to read the poems.

Students first competed in their respective schools, then the winners moved to Wednesday's competition, which is the county level. The regional competition, which includes three events across the state, will be followed by a state competition at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Nikaido said.

A national competition will be held in Washington, D.C., in May, and there will be a student representing each state, Nikaido said.

The third-place winner in the national competition will win $5,000; the second-place winner will receive $10,000; and the first-place winner $20,000, Nikaido said.

This is the second year that Washington County has held a Poetry Out Loud competition.

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