Sophomore Ali Foreman won Whitman’s first Poetry Out Loud competition Nov. 30. Foreman and runner-up sophomore Emily Rogers qualified to compete in the county-level contest in January, the next stage in the nation-wide poetry recitation contest.
Though excited about her win, Foreman said she’s nervous about her upcoming performance at the county competition.
“Winning feels almost as nerve-wracking as the feeling I had when I went onstage,” she said. “I’m excited for counties, but we’ll see what happens.”
Poetry Out Loud, which is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation, encourages the memorization and recitation of poetry to help students master public speaking skills and learn about literary heritage, according to website.
The competition began in high schools across America in 2006 after the foundation hosted successful pilot programs in Washington, D.C., and Chicago and is currently gaining popularity among local schools.
“I’ve been trying to find people to help run it and to find students who are interested,” English teacher Michelle Quackenbush said. “But this year six schools in Montgomery County are participating, so it’s caught on.”
Quackenbush said she isn’t sure whether the competition will become an annual event. “Like anything around here, things come and go,” she said. “But this is a national contest, so it’s great to make it available.”
Contestant Alex Luta, for one, plans to participate again next year if it’s offered.
“I would definitely do this again,” he said. “My favorite part was just going up there and doing the best I could.”
English teachers Prudence Crewdson and Beth Rockwell, composition assistant Orion Hyson, and parent Jennifer Gold judged the competition.