Poetry Out Loud School Champion Has Been Crowned

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Poetry Out Loud School Champion Has Been Crowned

Alicia Labrecque, Reporter

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Senior Kaitlyn Mangelinx has won the school’s Poetry Out Loud competition for a second year in a row.

Mr. Collins, the Poetry Out Loud coordinator, said the way the judges calculate the winners is that “[the judges]  use the official national scoring rubric that breaks it down into categories. There is also an accuracy part.” 

Kaitlyn Mangelinx was able to sit down and talk about the competition. The poems she chose were The Lost Land”  by Eavan Boland and Quite Frankly by Mark Halliday.

About choosing these poems, Mangelinx said, “I just thought [“The Lost Land”] was really interesting because the author was an Irish immigrant and you can see that in some of her poems. [“Quite Frankly” is] talking about how he had all this information from his relatives from photo albums before they died and I thought that was really interesting and I related to it because I never met my grandmother, but I feel like I know her because my mother and father have so many pictures and great stories.”

This year’s coordinator, Mr. Collins, explained the competition process: “Teachers do [competitions] with their own classroom and they pass it on to me, and then when it goes to the school level. They get a little bit of coaching and then rehearse it on stage and then recite them.”

He explained that during the school wide competition: “About ten [students] each day recite one poem. As a result of both poems we will decided a school-wide champion.”

Mr. Collins explains that the judges are: “a group of volunteer English teachers and other individuals. “

It does not stop at just champion of WHS, however, “Champions will have the opportunity to attend a workshop and compete on the state level. They will move onto Eastern Connecticut Poetry Out Loud competition from there the state finalists will be determined. Ideally, if they will on the state level they can go to the national level.” Mr. Collins said.

If Mangelinx goes all the way, Mr. Collins said she will receive: “a trip to Washington D.C. for [her] and a parent, and scholarship money.”

Poetry Out Loud, however, is about more than just winning a competition. Mr. Silvestri, one of the teachers whose classes are participating, explained, “It’s a convenient way to work poetry into the class, and for my honor students it’s a good way to get them up and performing in front of the class. For the small population that are interested in poetry, it’s a good experience for them to show off.”

Mr. Silvestri addded, “I think the most important thing is it gets [students] out of their comfort zone. It’s a different type of public speaking experience.”

Mr. Collins also explained his reasons for doing the competition: “I think the skills of presenting in front of people and also digging into poetry in a meaningful manner is an important skill set. They learn that poetry is a living and breathing thing. Even those who didn’t win usually find a poem that is meaningful to them.”

One of the contestants, senior Julia Gigliotti, said she did it because “it was an [Creative Writing] assignment, but we could redo it to get another grade and I redid it and got an 100.”

She also commented, “I hope to become more confident on stage and I hope to remember things better.”

As for Mangelinx’s plans now: “I’m totally planning on going to regionals and I hope to make it to states, and maybe theoretically nationals.”

One of the judges, Mr. Cadorette, said, “I think variety is good to show off her strengths of which [Mangelinx]  has many. I think choice of poem is really important and choosing that third one is going to be really important.”

Mr. Collins said: “She is going to have to be very confident about the poem. She’s got the skills to go up on stage and she knows her stuff.”

Next stop for Mangelinx is the Eastern Regional competition.

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