Students learn and win through poetry
Her expressive delivery helped Bethany Padgett win Eatonville High School’s Poetry Out Loud contest. (Jim Bryant/The Dispatch)
Is a trip to the nation’s capitol in Bethany Padgett’s future?
It might be, now that she’s Eatonville High School’s representative in the Poetry Out Loud contest being staged at regional, state and national levels.
Padgett was picked by judges as the winner at her school from among 17 students from all grade levels who competed last Thursday by reciting classic and contemporary poems with dramatic flair.
The competition, presented in partnership with the Washington State Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.
Padgett will advance to the retional competition at the Tacoma Public Library on Feb. 9. Someone will eventually become the state champion and represent Washington at the Poetry Out Loud national finals April 29-30 in Washington, DC, where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be on the line.
In addition to an all-expenses-paid trip to D.C., the state winner receives $200, plus $500 for their school to spend on buying poetry books.
In the local competition held in Eatonville High’s auditorium in front of an audience that was open to the public, the second and third-place finishers were Rachel Price and Josie Lamothe, respectively.
Contestants recited works they selected from an anthology of more than 650 classic and contemporary poems. Judges evaluated student performances on criteria including voice and articulation, evidence of understanding, level of difficulty, and accuracy.
Students were picked from English classes for the competition. Teachers introduced poetry recitation in the classroom using materials created by the National Education Association and the Poetry Foundation, including a standards-based Teacher’s Guide, a web site, a Learning Recitation DVD, and a CD featuring poetry recitations by well-known actors and writers such as Anthony Hopkins and Rita Dove.
Eatonvlle’s competition was organized by teachers Rachel Wiley and Margie Hoffman. The guest judges were Vicky Andersen, Paul Treyes, Kristi Simpson and Mike Clancy.