Note: Norfolk Collegiate's first Poetry Out Loud winner Clare Harbin ’19 will perform in the Regional Competition on Wednesday, Feb. 10, in the Attucks Theatre in Norfolk at 1 p.m.

Clare earned first place with her performance of She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron in Collegiate's competition on Dec. 3, 2015, in the Hackney Theater. She will be one of six contestants from the Hampton Roads area, which increases her chances of continuing on to the State Competition. 


Snaps and claps: Poetry Out Loud at Collegiate

Our students wooed the crowd with their performances in Norfolk Collegiate’s inaugural Poetry Out Loud competition.

Poetry Out Loud is a national oratory contest that encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization and recitation.

Twelve Upper School students participated in Collegiate’s contest on Dec. 3, in the Hackney Theater.

One by one, students’ graced the stage and microphone with their words of expression and the audience cheered after each performance.

Each student had to prepare two poems from the Poetry Out Loud anthology, which comprises more than 800 poems, including  poems of cultural significance and a particular era or demographic.

Some of the poems that were recited included, Testimonial by Rita Dove, One Art by Elizabeth Bishop and The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.

Judges of the contest were 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 were critiqued on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding and overall performance.

Upper School English teachers Ashley Billman and Meg Dalrymple introduced the program to the Collegiate community this school year.

“It was an opportunity for students to grow their public speaking skills and confidence, as well as have the chance to do an independent study of poetry,” Dalrymple said.

There were three winners of the contest, including first-, second- and third- place winners.

Taylor Dews ’18 exquisitely performed Black Boys Play the Classics by Toi Derricotte and placed third in the competition.

“I’ve always been interested in the performing arts,” said Taylor. “How people expressed themselves and how they stepped into character amazes me. I wanted to try it out so I did, and it was fun.”

James Cooper ’16 poetically expressed The Peace of Wild Things by Wendall Berry and placed second.

“The day I learned about the contest, I was in Mrs. Reese class. Once she told us about it, I knew I wanted to enter the competition,” said James. “Ironically, it was the day we read the poem America, and right after she told the class about the contest; the entire class urged me to perform. Her timing was spot on.”

Clare Harbin ’19 earned first place with her performance of She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron.

“I love reading and reciting poems,” she said. “When Mr. Benedict told me, I knew I wanted to try it out and that it would be fun; and it was fun.”

Clare will advance to the regional competition at the Crispus Attucks Cultural Center in Norfolk on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016.

For more information about Collegiate’s competition click here, and visit



Dec. 4, 2015