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Two NHP Students Excel in Poetry Out Loud Competition and Advance to Local Semifinals

By Carmela Drossman-Schlossberg

Poetry Out Loud is a competition that offers students the opportunity to show their love for the style of writing. This event, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation and state art agencies, aims to help students excel in public speaking, build self-confidence and expose students to the world of poetry. 

Judged by Mr. Otton and Mr. Geritano, the competition was held on December 7. There were around 50 students competing. Students selected a poem under 25 lines from a large database to memorize and recite. Students were given the option of performing their poem only in front of the judges or in front of everyone. They were judged on accuracy, tone and clarity of speech, understanding of the poem and their overall performance. 

“I’m very proud of everyone who competed. They worked really hard and made nuanced, creative and thoughtful performances. The whole competition was a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing it come back next year,” English Chairperson Mr. Otton said. 

There are multiple rounds in this competition. The first round is school-wide. The two-finalists, Amy Jigan and Nayana Kabir, moved into the local semi-finals. This round was held at the Walt Whitman birthplace and had 20 students from around Nassau County. Amy progressed into the next round that evening, which was the competition final, and was made up of the top 5 performers of that event. The top two winners moved onto the state final, and then there was the national round.

Source from Mr. Otton

Together, Mr. Otton and NHP's two finalists celebrate the art of poetry at the Poetry Out Loud local semifinals, located at the Walt Whitman Birthplace museum in Huntington.

“I prepared by constantly repeating the poem back to myself. It helped me become more confident and I used my body language to remember it more,” sophomore and co-winner Nayana Kabir said. “What really helped me though was my co-winner Amy. Our practice together after school allowed me to have somebody else's opinion on my performance. It made me all around more confident. I also felt connected to these poems on a personal level, making it easier for me to perform them.”

“I loved practicing with Nayana! I also thought the atmosphere was really friendly and super nice. This completion was like a step into the world of poetry, and then I really ended up enjoying it. I think poetry is interesting, and I might look into doing more in the future,” freshman and co-winner Amy Jigon said. 

Beyond the competition, poetry gives people the opportunity to explore different perspectives and foster an appreciation for the nuances of language. Poetry allows students to express themselves in a creative way. 

"Poetry is a way for me to express my emotions, thoughts, and experiences in a unique and meaningful way,” said sophomore Ariana Muhammad. “It is an outlet that I only recently discovered, and I am so glad I did. I write about anything and everything, from my family and hobbies to vacations and nature. The Poetry Out Loud competition was the perfect opportunity for me to share my love for poetry with others and see firsthand the power of spoken words by listening to my peers recite.”


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