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May 8, 2024
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Poetry Out Loud: because good poetry should be read out loud


Senior Drum Major Daniel Tibbetts recites his way to victory

The eighth annual Poetry Out Loud competition was held on Wednesday Jan. 13. 28 student finalists, hand picked by their English teachers, competed in the PAC for the poetry recitation competition. Government teacher Geof Land was the Ryan Seacrest of the competition, reading off poems about anything ranging from the refugee crisis to cheese, while the judges, English teachers Anne Dominic, Aaron Cantrell, Hilary Walters, and District VAPA Specialist, Elaine Higgins, scored the recitals out of 47 points. The students are judges on physical presence, voice and articulation,  dramatic appropriateness, level of complexity, evidence of understanding, and overall performance. During the recitation English teacher, Steve Arnette judged the accuracy of the performance, and Cindi Schroeder was the promoter, helping any student who couldn’t recall the next line.

Students worked countless hours in their English classes to perfect their poems for the competition, all waiting for the moment to stand on the stage and hope they did not falter. Daniel Tibbetts, the winner of the competition, spent a mere two weeks practicing his poem.

The 28 contestants of the 2016 PRHS Poetry Out Loud competition
The 28 contestants of the 2016 PRHS Poetry Out Loud competition

Each student performed their poem with pride and confidence, but when senior Daniel Tibbetts walked on the stage and performed “Becoming a Redwood” by Dana Gioia with a cadence that never faltered, even when two babies cried out during his performance and the door slammed at least three times, everyone knew. The woman sitting next to me leaned over and said, “That’s it, there’s the winner.”

At 4:50 the winners were announced. It was no surprise when Land announced Tibbetts as the winner. Junior Chris Garcia was runner up, for the second year in a row. His poem was “The Greatest Grandeur” by Pattiann Rogers.

Tibbetts will compete in the county wide contest on Feb. 19 in San Luis Obispo at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship for a chance to continue onto the state-level competition.


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