In the midst of the excitement of Academy’s Catholic Schools Week, four grade-level finalists battled for first place in the Second Annual Poetry Out Loud (POL) competition on Wednesday, February 2, in Brady Center North.
Academy students listened with quiet attention as each finalist recited two poems of her choice from the official Poetry Out Loud anthology. Christine Costello placed first with the poems “These Poems, She Said” by Robert Bringhurst and “Cartoon Physics, part 1” by Nick Flynn. Sarah Davis, grade 11, placed second; Lauren Collins, grade 10, placed third; and Emily Dever, grade 9, placed fourth. Criteria for judging included physical appearance, voice and articulation, appropriateness of dramatization, level of difficulty, evidence of understanding, and overall performance.
Selection for finalist competition did not come easy. The girls faced tight competition in mid January in each of their English classes, in which all students were required to memorize and recite a poem from the POL anthology. Then the top five students from each grade 9-11 had to face off at lunchtime competitions that ran over four days beginning January 18. Ms. Rotolo, Academy’s drama teacher, acted as the grade-level judge for all grade-level competitions with each of the English teachers serving as accuracy judge for her grade level.
Sophomore finalist Lauren Collins admitted before the competition, “I am so nervous but really excited at the same time.”
Selection of the performance judges for the final competition ensured impartial and qualified judging. This year the judges were Ms. Shannon Liston, WFLA Sports Producer; Ms. Kim Wilmath, A’05, St. Petersburg Times; and Ms. Janice Sherrick, A’65, Former Administrator, Hillsborough County Schools. Business Education Department Chair Mrs. Beth Chase served as scoring judge, and Ms. Stefanie Rotolo, Drama Teacher, served as accuracy judge.
The winner Christine Costello will compete in Tallahassee on Saturday, March 12, at the State Poetry Out Loud competition. Christine has selected “Invictus” by William Henley as her third poem for recitation. The winner at the state level will receive a cash prize and a trip to Washington, D. C., to compete in the national final on April 27.