Northwest Horizons

Students compete in spoken word

Student Elonie Quick performs her first of two selected poems in the Northwest High School library. She will attend the upcoming State Competition for Poetry Out Loud.

Student Elonie Quick performs her first of two selected poems in the Northwest High School library. She will attend the upcoming State Competition for Poetry Out Loud.

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What some people think of as their worst fear, junior Elonie Quick does for fun.

For three years, Quick has been participating in a competition called “Poetry Out Loud.” Students choose two poems from an array of different options on the Poetry Out Loud website, and memorize them. They then have to present their poems in front of a table of judges, emphasizing their tone of voice, gestures and memorization.

“I like listening to other people [perform],” Quick said. “And [Poetry Out Loud] is like theater.”

Quick, who has been taking theater classes for two years at the high school, has a lot of experience in front of an audience. She has performed in many Northwest productions, like last year’s musical “Seussical” and most recently, an original play entitled “Beloved.”

“I also really like poetry,” Quick said. “It’s meant to be read out loud.”

Spoken word allows presenters to use inflection and actions to convey what words on a paper are unable to. Reading other authors’ pieces also gives the speaker an opportunity to share their own understanding of them.

The school has been hosting this event for four years, courtesy of English teacher Monica Clark.

“If more people are aware, more participate,” Clark said. “There’s value in memorizing poetry, reciting and public speaking.”

Many students dread the thought of public speaking. They are reluctant to stand in front of a class to debate or to share PowerPoints. But it’s a useful skill. Professionals often have to present to their bosses or coworkers, and it’s valuable to know proper posture and pitch.

“The hard part is on the kids,” Clark said.

Students spend hours reciting their pieces and adjusting them how they see fit. The winner of the competition is selected based on the most impacting use of emotion, appropriate actions and accurate memorization. Quick has won for the second consecutive year and will be going to the State competition.

“I like performing,” Quick said. “It’s fun and I get to meet new people.”

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Students compete in spoken word