As part of the National Poetry Out Loud competition, high school students across the state are choosing to recite poetry this month before a panel of judges.
For some, the goal is to be chosen to compete in their regional competition in February. Others hope to go on to the state competition in St. Paul. Still others set their sights on the national competition in Washington D.C., while some students prefer simpler goals: understanding a poem, and learning it by heart.
Eleven students at Voyageurs Expeditionary High School in Bemidji stood up for poetry this year, choosing to present their poems before two judges, Laura Dehler-Seter and Holly Alcott from Region 2 Arts Council.
Cindy Nelson, English Instructor at VEHS has hosted Poetry Out Loud competitions at Voyageurs for the past several years. This year she was assisted by VEHS staff member Ruth Webb, who coached interested students in practicing their poems.
The top three finishers, Ilsa Thooft (1st place, seated in front with the hat), Brandon Madigan (2nd place, standing in the middle), and Maddie Thooft (3rd place, seated front right)will compete at the Regional Competition in Fosston on February 18.
In addition to Voyageurs, other Region 2 schools competing in Poetry Out Loud include Clearbrook-Gonvick High School, Laporte School, and Trek North. Kaija Roy from Trek North was one of 12 state finalists in the 2011 competition.
For more information about Poetry Out Loud, visit PoetryOutLoud.org. To learn more about the Poetry Out Loud initiative in Minnesota, please go to the Minnesota State Arts Board link http://www.arts.state.mn.us/other/poetry.htm.