JHS Sophomore Chiara Raimondo Places 2nd at State Poetry Out Loud Competition – Wins Regional Competition

Poetry recitation as a competitive event is as old as the Olympic Games. Along with wrestling, long-distance running, and the javelin toss, the ancient Olympics included contests in music and poetry. Jamestown High School has long been known for its fine music, sports, and accelerated academic programs, but now it looks as though it’s on its way to becoming a “poetry powerhouse!”

On March 4, JHS sophomore Chiara Raimondo traveled to Albany, New York with her English teacher, Barbi Price, to compete at the New York State Poetry Out Loud competition. Ms. Raimondo placed second out of twenty competitors, with her recitation of “Happiness” by Paisley Rekdal, “On Monsieur’s Departure” by Queen Elizabeth I and “Candles” by Carl Dennis. Ms. Raimondo also won the Western New York Regional Poetry Out Loud Competition in February. JHS students have won that title three out of the last four years.
“I was extremely excited to compete at the state level and meet kids who are just as passionate about poetry as I am,” remarked Ms. Raimondo. “Reciting poetry is an unusual hobby, and I was curious to witness a poetry contest on such a large scale.”

Barbi Price, Chairman of the JHS English department and JCC Public Speaking teacher, was happy to travel to Albany for the third time. “Chiara has beautiful voice, exquisite enunciation, and a deep understanding of the poems that she recites,” said Price. “She was a great ambassador for JHS and recited her poems flawlessly. I think that she really enjoyed watching and listening to other regional winners recite. Now, she’s determined to win and go to Washington for the National competition.”

Last fall, JHS students registered in the Poetry Out Loud Program, chose a poem from the approved list, and recited it before their peers in JHS English classes. Then, on December 18h, fourteen JHS students recited their poems before an independent panel of judges.

The JHS winners, Adriana Roehmholdt and Chiara Raimondo, traveled to Niagara County Community College on February 27th to compete against other Western New York high school winners for the regional title by reciting two poems from the approved list.

According to Raimondo, “Kids are good at many different things, some of which are not so obvious. All sorts of talents should be encouraged in high school so that youth can find what they truly enjoy doing, not just what is ‘normal’ or expected of them to participate in.”

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation partner with state arts agencies to create Poetry Out Loud, a program which invites the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the high school. At JHS, Poetry Out Loud helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. Students who study, memorize, and perform timeless poems are immersed in powerful language and provocative ideas.

State champions compete in the National Poetry Out Loud Finals on April 29 and 30, 2014 at George Washington University in Washington DC, where the winner receives $25,000.00.

posted on 03/07/2014 - filed under: Academics, JHS, Spotlight, Students, teachers