Indiana Area Senior High School

By JORIE MEIL – Junior Dylan McAnulty recently competed at the regional Poetry Out Loud competition at IUP on Monday, January 29th. McAnulty moved on to the regional event after winning both his classroom and school-wide Poetry Out Loud competitions.  Though not chosen as a finalist at the regional event, McAnulty did very well in his first experience with the competition.

McAnulty’s journey to the regional competition began with the classroom competition in his AP Language and Composition class and then advanced to the school-wide competition, which pitted him against other classroom competition winners.

The school-wide competition was held in the senior high auditorium on Wednesday, January 10 during 9th and 10th periods. Other IHS students participating in the school-wide competition were junior Raeleigh Smith, and freshmen Madison Palmer and Amna Casi. McAnulty won this leg of the competition and continued on to the next step, the regional event at IUP.

At the regional event, McAnulty competed against students from various surrounding schools. This year there were six students from six different schools who participated.  Competitors chose poems from the list of eligible poems on the Poetry Out Loud website. Students then had to memorize and recite the poems. The poems are then evaluated by a panel of judges on criteria such as physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, and evidence of understanding. Participating students have to practice long and hard to be able to go far in this competition.

The poems McAnulty performed at the regional competition were America by Claude McKay, Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost, and I Hear America Singing by Walt Whitman.  McAnulty commented, “It’s not just reciting the words in the poem accurately that produces a good score, but also the inflection the reader uses.”

At IHS students are encouraged by their English teachers to participate in this competition. Two of the most involved teachers in the competition process are English teacher Natalie Mears, who organizes the school-wide event and serves as the liaison between IHS and the regional and state-wide events, and English teacher Larry Nath who helps organize the classroom competitions and publicize the event throughout the school.  Both teachers also help with judging process as well as working individually with students to prepare for the competitions.

According to Nath, “Poetry Out Loud is a great way for kids to achieve an academic accomplishment that they can be proud of, as well as giving them a great way to work on public speaking and self-expression skills.”

Indiana Senior High has proudly taken part in this nation-wide competition for many years.  Each year, participating students remark that not only is it is great fun at the competitions, but they gain valuable academic and self-expression skills that help them to build personal confidence.  “It was a great experience, and it was really interesting to see how the other competitors performed their poems.  I would definitely do it again,” stated McAnulty.

POL by Doris McAnulty

[Photo by Doris McAnulty]

Photo caption: Poetry Out Loud regional competitor Dylan McAnulty (center) was cheered on and supported by his parents, Daniel and Amanda McAnulty (left), and IHS English teachers Natalie Mears and Larry Nath (right), as well as Dylan’s grandmother, Doris McAnulty (not pictured) at the POL regional competition held at IUP.

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