Poetry Out Loud brought out the best talent in all the grades as they competed, but sophomore Emily Rodriguez came out on top.
Run-off competitions for grade-level finalists for Poetry Out Loud began last week with seniors competing at lunch on Monday, January 23, followed by juniors on Tuesday, sophomores on Wednesday, and freshmen on Thursday.
From these run-offs emerged the individual grade winners: Sarah Davis from the seniors, Michelle Ebrada from the juniors, Emily Rodriguez from the sophomores, and Ashlyn Bradshaw from the freshmen.
Senior semifinalists were Jacqueline Henderson, Jenn Compton, Alex Prado, and Josie Little. Other juniors included Arlyn Beatty, Lauren Collins, Taylor Hernandez, and Catherine Young. Other sophomores that competed were Emily Dever, Megan Glogowski, Gabrielle Madden, and Gaby Mendez. Those who competed in ninth grade were Maggie Brekka, Theresa Grandoff, Olivia Gessner, and Sasha Hollenbeck.
Launched specifically for high school, Poetry Out Loud, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and organized in Florida by the Department of Cultural Affairs, provides an opportunity for students to develop public speaking skills and shape self-confidence while learning how to interpret, memorize and recite a poem.
For the final Academy competition, the representative from each grade recited two poems in Brady Center North during morning assembly on Wednesday, February 1, as part of Catholic Schools Week activities . The final all-school judging panel consisted of Ms. Myra McLeod, Ms. Stephanie Agliano, and Ms. Mary Beth Cusack Byrd.
Ms. Myra McLeod, a Sacred Heart Alumni, is a former Spanish and English teacher, Marketing Director and Director of Institutional Advancement at AHN, and is currently Capital Campaign Director at UT and current Board of Trustees member at AHN.
Ms. Stephanie Agliano, an AHN alumni, is a past president of the Holy Names Alumni Association, former Community Relations worker for TECO, and currently an independent consultant.
Ms. Mary Beth Cusack Byrd, also an AHN alumni, was the former anchor for News Channel 8, a commercial spokesperson, and currently a real estate broker.
Each girl performed wonderfully, but ultimately Emily Rodriguez won. Sarah Davis took second place, followed by Ashlyn Bradshaw and Michelle Ebrada, respectively.
As the winner, Emily will represent Academy at the state competition held in Tallahassee on March 10. She receives an all-expenses paid trip to Tallahassee for herself and her parents or guardians. Good luck, Emily!