Jamestown High School junior, Kavita Oza, was recently named the winner at the Regional Poetry Out Loud Competition in Buffalo. Ms. Oza competed against 20 students from eight schools from Rochester and Buffalo, along with fellow JHS student, Johanna Graham. Mrs. Oza and Ms. Graham won the JHS Poetry Out Loud Competition, in which 180 students from 13 classrooms participated.
Kavita will compete against 18 other regional winners in Albany on March 24th at the New York State Poetry Out Loud Competition Ms. Oza will perform three poems: “Ego” by Denise Duhamel, “Slant” by Suji Kwock Kim, and “The Sun Rising” by John Donne.
Poetry Out Loud is a partnership between The National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and state arts agencies to encourage the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. Students memorize three poems from an authorized list and are evaluated on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, level of difficulty, evidence of understanding, overall performance and accuracy during their poetry recitation.
“Studying poetry is like practicing for life,” said JHS ELA Department Chair, Barbi Price. “Poetry Out Loud helps students master public speaking skills and build self-confidence while analyzing the themes, tone, and diction of the world’s most beloved poems. The program encourages students to interpret and enliven poems in a way that is powerfully and clearly conveyed to others.”
Kavita’s name literally translates into “poetry,” a name her father gave to her when she was born. Her coach, Barbi Price, said that the Regional judges noticed that Kavita “lives in the lines of the poem” when she recites. “Preparing Kavita for the New York State competition is a joy; she has an intuitive understanding of the beauty of language and the nuances of meaning,” remarked Price.
A member of the Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association, Kavita also plays the piano, loves to draw, and is desperately trying to learn the guitar. Prior to her freshman year at JHS, Kavita attended a French school in Washington D.C.. She plans to go to medical school and eventually get a Masters in Visual Arts so that she can teach fine arts when she retires from her medical career.