Ayden-Grifton students compete in poetry recitation

Ayden-Grifton students compete in poetry recitation

The top three in the Poetry Out Loud competition L-R, Samantha Newton, Nyashia Sutton, Aaliyah Moore. Photo by Catherine Hardee / Neuse News

AYDEN | Friday night was a night of poetry at Ayden-Grifton High School as students competed in the Poetry Out Loud Recitation Competition.

Poetry Out Loud is a national competition for high school students, who compete first at the school level, then at the state or regional level, and finally at a national competition for state winners. According to the competition website, Poetry Out Loud “encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life.”

At Ayden-Grifton High School Friday night, seven students showed off their hard work and recited poems they had memorized for an audience of teachers and family and friends. Each student chose poems that were meaningful to them, and recited in two rounds of competition.

Anahi Zapata recites “Be Music, Night” by Kenneth Patchen. Photo by Catherine Hardee / Neuse News

Anahi Zapata recites “Be Music, Night” by Kenneth Patchen. Photo by Catherine Hardee / Neuse News

The recitations were judged on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, and overall performance. After two rounds of competition, the winners were announced based off the combined scores from the two rounds.

In third place, having recited “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost and “Happiness” by James Kenyon, was Samantha Newton. In second place, having recited “April Love” by Ernest Dowson and “The Road Not Taken” was Aaliyah Moore. The winner of the competition, having recited “[i carry your heart with me (i carry it in]” by E. E. Cummings, was senior Nyashia Sutton.

Sutton will go on to compete at the North Carolina state competition Feb. 16 in Greensboro. The winner of the state competition will receive $200 and an expenses paid trip for themselves and a chaperone to Washington D.C. for the national competition.

Sutton’s mother, Tamara Chamberlain, said she was extremely proud of her daughter’s accomplishment. “She has been practicing for the last three or four weeks,” she said. Chamberlain expressed her confidence that Sutton will do well at the state competition.

All the participants received a certificate of recognition for their accomplishment in memorizing and reciting in front of an audience. The teacher in charge of the competition, Tabatha Rawls, said she wanted them all to be proud of facing their fears and putting themselves in front of an audience, and expressed her own pride in them.

Poetry Out Loud competitors: L-R, Aaliyah Moore, Samantha Newton, Wendy Luviano, Hailey Braxton, Ashley Hood, Evelyn Allen, Anahi Zapata, Nyashia Sutton.  Photo by Catherine Hardee / Neuse News

Poetry Out Loud competitors: L-R, Aaliyah Moore, Samantha Newton, Wendy Luviano, Hailey Braxton, Ashley Hood, Evelyn Allen, Anahi Zapata, Nyashia Sutton. Photo by Catherine Hardee / Neuse News

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