Three compete in poetry recitation contest


Three people competed in this year’s Poetry Out Loud competition on Jan. 19 in the lecture hall. Junior Brianna Mathias won the competition and will advance to the district wide tournament at Quinter on Feb. 6.

Mathias, sophomore Rachelle Lumpkins and junior Elizabeth Emerson each recited two poems for the competition.

English teacher Kathy Wagoner was in charge of the competition. The two judges were Dr. Lexey Bartlett, an English Professor at Fort Hays State University, and the alumni associate program coordinator for FHSU, Karl Pratt.

Both of the judges have had experience with the performing arts in high school.

“I come from a performing background and I want to help and encourage young people to be a part of competitions like these,” Pratt said.

There were two rounds. During the first round, the competitors recited their first poem, after round one there was a short break so the judges could tally up the scores. The competitors recited their second poems in round two.

When the rounds were over, scores were added up, and a winner was announced.

The students seemed to find the experience to be a very positive one.

“Poetry out loud was a lot of fun,” sophomore Rachelle Lumpkins said. “I was very nervous at first, but everyone was supportive and happy. Instead of being uptight, we all joked around and just had a blast. I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

The poetry contest is held annually, and will therefore be held again next January. The students involved encourage others to give it a try.

“Poetry Out Loud is a lot of fun because poetry is a way for people to connect and express themselves,” junior Elizabeth Emerson said. “It has been a lot of fun and I’ve seen a lot of people and some of my friends become a new person when they present their poems. Poetry is also a lot of fun for me so I enjoy doing Poetry Out Loud.”