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Poetry Out Loud 2016

Gracie Poehlman, Writer

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19 students gathered in the Media Center at 6:00 PM on Thursday to compete. Papers in hand, they sat wearing nice clothes and fidgeting. A microphone stood in the corner, with Mrs. Sheila Hadden acting as emcee.

The occasion was Poetry Out Loud, an annual competition for cash prizes, prestige, and at the national level, a $20,000 scholarship. There are two categories to the competition: Recitation and Original Poetry, which is unique to Alabama.

The structure is simple: All students recite one poem, and then the top five advance to the second round and recite their second poem. Because there are rarely more than five poets willing to recite their own poetry, typically all those competing in Original Poetry move on to the second round.

The winners, after what Mrs. Hadden described as the hardest decision in the school-level’s competition to date, were Iman Gadalla and the runner-up Jessica Sloane in Recitation, and Preston Adams and runner-up Carsten Groves in Original Poetry. The will go on to Regional competition at UAH in December. The first place winners at the local level won $100, and the runner-ups won $50 each.

“I’m pretty shocked,” said Iman Gadalla. “I didn’t expect to win. It came as a very big surprise, for sure. It was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it.”

Mrs. Lambert, who showed up after the softball game, loved it. “It was fabulous. It was a great competition.”

Want to get involved next year? Contact Mrs. Hadden next October.

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Poetry Out Loud 2016