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Students step into the stage lights to compete in Poetry Out Loud

Raven Bowman
Kian VanBibber (09) recites “Always Something More Beautiful” by Stephan Dunn at the WHS Poetry Out Loud competition on Feb. 7. VanBibber placed third in the competition overall.

On Feb. 6-7, students went up on stage to compete with their words at the annual Poetry Out Loud competition in the auditorium.

“It is enjoyable to see them go up there, not just with the challenge of poetry but with the challenge of public speaking and interpretation and performance,” Jerrod Griebel (staff) said. Griebel is a teacher in the English department and he was a judge for the competition.

Griebel is not new to witnessing this fun little battle. Griebel has judged Poetry Out Loud before — it is his third year doing so. “I like being able to see, especially for some kids who come back and compete multiple times, how they have grown as students and competitors, but also just to try to encourage the students and where they are with the challenging fears of going through the process. It’s enjoyable. It’s good to see growth,” Griebel said.

Showing growth is definitely the case for Rize Simmons (11) who has competed three years in a row. “I really enjoy poetry just because I’ve done a lot of theater and stuff and when I recite the poems it’s just like another way of performing,” Simmons said.

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Rize Simmons (11) recites “The Song of the Smoke” by W.E.B. Du Bois. “The Song of the Smoke” was written in a time of political weakness for people of color and was seen to them as an affirmation of pride. (Raven Bowman)

Simmons won first place in the school competition his freshman year and went to state, where he then took third place. However, the second year he competed did not go as well as he had hoped. “Last year, I messed up on the words and it was a tough lesson for me because I pride myself on my memorization and getting it down. To mess up and lose that way hurt and made me very sad,” Simmons said.

But even with his winning streak broken, he made up for his loss the previous year by placing first in this most recent competition. He performed “The Song of the Smoke” by W. E. B. Du Bois. “I felt relieved,” Simmons said. “I knew that I did the best that I could and I got the result that I wanted.”

Simmons wasn’t the only one happy with the results. Bella Gow (09) recited the poem “Across the Bay” by Donald Davie and placed second. “I was honestly really surprised. There were some incredible people up there,” Gow said. “My mind just kind of blanked for a second.”

Bella Gow (09) recites “Across the Bay: by Donald Davie. “Across the Bay” is about being able to overcome things even if they are hard. (Raven Bowman)

Gow herself really likes poetry and believes that it can help convey emotions and feelings. “I think it’s a really unique perspective on how to write something you wouldn’t be able to write when writing a book or an article,” Gow said.

The 2024 Poetry Out Loud competition concluded the day of Feb. 7 with placed winners and honorable mentions. Some are glad that it’s over, and others are waiting for next year to compete again.

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Sophia Jensen
Sophia Jensen, Reporter
Sophia is a junior at Windsor High School who hopes to become an author in the future. She loves to read and listen to music, and she is fascinated with cryptids.
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    Stacey GowFeb 15, 2024 at 5:33 pm

    Yah Bella! Congratulations !