Poetry Out Loud comes to Collegiate

On Dec. 3, Norfolk Collegiate will host its first national oratory contest titled Poetry Out Loud, which encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization and recitation.

It is traditionally a series of competitions that provides students the opportunity to compete on the national level. The contest was developed by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to help students’ master public speaking, build self-confidence and learn about literary heritage.

Upper School English teachers Ashley Billman and Meg Dalrymple introduced the program to the Collegiate community this school year, and they are extremely excited to host the event for our students.

“We have to start here and advance. I’m sure our students can compete at the national level,” said Dalrymple. “It’s an opportunity for them to grow their public speaking skills and confidence, as well as have the chance to do an independent study of poetry.”

Developed in 2006, Poetry Out Loud has had nearly 10 years of success in high schools across the nation.

Upper School students, also including eighth grade students, are invited to participate.

Each student must prepare two poems from the Poetry Out Loud anthology, which can be found on their website.

“Students have the opportunity to select a poem that speaks to them,” said Billman.

The Poetry Out Loud database comprises over 800 poems, including poems of cultural significance and a particular era or demographic.

“Thinking about our curriculum and how we have a very rich educational program at Collegiate, this opportunity gives our students a chance to expand on poetry, including public speaking, which we saw as a gap that needed to be filled; and this is a perfect way to do so,” said Billman. 

Students will recite their poem in front of a panel of three judges and an audience in the Hackney Theater.

The judges are Tom Yuill, local poet and Old Dominion University’s English literature professor; Patti Hinson, memoir writer and instructor at the Muse; and Jason Kypros, spokesperson for the Virginia Lottery.

Students will be critiqued on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding and overall performance.

Tryouts will be held on Monday, Nov. 23, in Ashley Billman’s classroom, room 26, in the Upper School at 3:15 p.m.

For more information, contact Ashley Billman or Meg Dalrymple

Nov. 20, 2015