10th annual Poetry Out Loud competition amazes at WOHS

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — Junior Nooha Kawsar was crowned the winner of the 10th annual Poetry Out Loud competition, held Jan. 8 at West Orange High School. Junior Olivia Ridley was named runner-up by a margin of a 10th of a point.

All finalists had to memorize two poems: one of 25 lines or fewer, and one written by a pre-20th century poet. All selections must be sanctioned by the POL competition. Each finalist competed in rounds one and two in a randomly selected order. The person with the highest score after two rounds — in this case, Kawsar — won the honor of representing West Orange High School at the regional competition on Feb. 12 at South Orange Performing Arts Center. 

The judging criteria included: accuracy of memorization. physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, and overall performance. 

The evening was emceed by senior and Escriptus member Matt Schwartz, while senior Stanley Lim performed musical stylings on trumpet as judges scored the contestants.

This year’s judges were Lee Behlman, Mindy Harvat, Tynia Thomassie, Liz Veneziano and Accuracy Judge Karen Perry. Molly Wachtel serves as adviser for Escriptus, the English Honor Society, which organized the event.

The finalists were freshmen Maura Baker, Nia Caesar, Madison Gough and Charlie Peterson; sophomore Mariana Simpson; and juniors Kawsaw, Ridley and Kai McCall.

Photos Courtesy of WOSD