By now, all high schools in Plumas County wanting to participate in the annual national Poetry Out Loud competition have had classroom visits or zooms to explain the program and do an activity which moved toward high school students overcoming their fear of public speaking and getting up and reciting a poem from memory.
“Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies” according to its website. Locally this means the California Arts Council and Plumas Arts work together to administer the program for Plumas County. The 2023 competition is the seventh year for the event in Plumas County.
Some schools have had repeat visits and have begun organizing a team of students to compete. So far three schools in Plumas County have confirmed participants: Quincy High School, Indian Valley Academy, Plumas Charter School in Quincy, Portola High School, Chester High School, Greenville High School. This year also has a number of homeschoolers participants.
Now comes the fun part: the competition. Plumas Arts in conjunction with the California Arts Council will hold a countywide competition on Sunday, Jan. 29 at noon in the Plumas Arts Gallery in Quincy. Should more students sign up than is expected, the contest will move down the street to the Town Hall Theatre in Quincy.
Each contestant will recite one poem from the www.poetryoutloud.org website from memory and will be judged based on memorization, interpretation, and appearance.
Three local judges will determine the “County Champion” of the contest, who will represent Plumas County during the state competition in Sacramento in March. Confirmed judges are Michelle Fulton, Jennifer Ready and Will Lombardi.
The student who wins will have to memorize two additional poems for recitation at the state competition.
There will be cash prizes for winners of the contest. Funding is provided for the county champion stay in Sacramento. The winner of the state contest will represent California in the national contest in Washington D.C. in May.
The contest is open to all students ninth grade through twelfth grade in Plumas County regardless of whether or not a presentation was made in that student’s English class, and regardless of whether one is a public, private, or home-schooled student.
Poet and arts administrator, Margaret Elysia Garcia, is providing coaching to all students interested through Plumas Arts and has been making class visits through out December and January by request in-person as well as zoom.
For more information about the contest, call Plumas Arts at (530) 283-3402 or Margaret Upton at (714) 746-4093.