Kevin Sokol Wins Poetry Out Loud

On Friday the 24th, students who won at the classroom level of Poetry Out Loud (POL) performed in the auditorium to compete to move onto the state level. Senior Kevin Sokol, this year’s winner, will represent St. X at the state competition. 

 

This is St. X’s third year participating in Poetry Out Loud, which is a nationwide competition in which students choose and memorize a poem. The students recite their poems to the class and a winner is selected from each classroom. From there, they go to compete in the auditorium against other class winners. The winner of the schoolwide competition goes onto state to compete for the chance to go to nationals. 

 

The purpose of POL is multi-faceted; part of it is having the discipline to memorize a poem, but another facet is to be able to understand the deeper meaning of the poem. 

 

“A lot of times most of the kids when they get to the school competition, they know the words on the page, but can they articulate them properly? Can they use breaks when necessary in the poem to kind of show the deeper meaning of the poem?” said Mrs. Kelly Logsdon, English teacher and event organizer. 

 

The grading system for the school wide competition is specific to the POL competition. Every English teacher who had a participating class sat on a panel of judges. Three of the judges look at physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, and overall performance. In addition to grading the presentation of a performance, another English teacher serves as an accuracy judge. They have the poem in front of them and even adding an extra ‘the’ can cost the presenter points.  

 

The competition was spread out over four periods separated by grade level. In each period, an emcee would call the name a contestant and he would approach the microphone at the center of the stage. From there, he would recite his selected poem from memory to a panel of judges, an audience of his classmates, and a few parents.

 

Every contestant recited his first poem in the first round; after finalists were picked, they would recite their second poems and one winner from each grade level would move on the finals. These four finalists got to choose one of the poems from their original two to perform in the final round. Senior Kevin Sokol won the competition with his recitation of the poem “Cartoon Physics part 1” by Nick Flynn, and will now go on to represent the school at the state-wide competition on March 3rd at the Grand Theatre in Frankfort, Kentucky.