Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District News Article

Junior Advances to State 'Poetry Out Loud' Contest

Nov. 16, 2023 -- The 2023 Poetry Out Loud Poetic Recitation Contest was held at the Massillon Museum of Art on Saturday, November 11. High school students took turns reciting dramatic readings of two poems of their choice. The students were judged on performance and delivery by poets Duane Dodson, Carrie George and Jessica Jones as well as the Massillon Museum's Education and Outreach Manager, Stephanie Toole.

Junior Tamia Christian won first place reciting poems “1st Vote” by Kamilah Aisha Moon and “Alternative Names For Black Boys” by Danez Smith. Tamia was named a Northeast Ohio Regional Semifinalist and will go on to compete at the Poetry Out Loud state championship in Columbus in February 2024.

Finding out that she won was “unexpected but exciting.” This was Tamia’s first time participating in this degree of public speaking so naturally she was nervous. But she was also excited to have the opportunity to recite two poems with messages that resonated deeply with her and are “close to my heart.”

English Language Learner teacher Kathleen Scully was thoroughly impressed by Tamia’s performance. “She did a beautiful job reading the poems with confidence and passion.”

And Tamia is incredibly appreciative of Mrs. Scully’s encouragement and support during the preparations for the contest on Saturday. Including after she was announced as a Regional Semifinalist and Mrs. Scully immediately assuring Tamia that she would be there with her in Columbus, supporting and cheering her on.

Poetry Out Loud Recitation Contest is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a recitation competition for high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. It is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Ohio Arts Council.

Students compete in their schools and regions and advance to the state level. The winners of the state competitions will advance to a late April national competition in Washington DC.

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