Phelps High School’s “Poetry Out Loud” students recently held a competition, the first of its kind at the school, thanks to a unique grant.
All five of Pike County’s high schools have received “Poetry Out Loud” grants that will allow them to bring in artists from all types of media for the instruction and entertainment of their students, according to Kelli Thompson, Director of the Gifted and Talented Program.
Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation competition created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation and administered in partnership with the Kentucky Arts Council. Each participating school receives an artist residency and the opportunity for the school champion to attend the state competition with a chaperone.
Schools can choose resident artists from such diverse areas as: dance, folk arts, literary arts, media/video, music, storytelling, theatre and visual arts.
All high schools in the state were eligible to apply.
At Phelps, teacher Betty Marie McClanahan, is very enthusiastic about the program and said it has created a new appreciation of poetry for the students involved.
The winners of the competition were: First Place- sophomore- Haylee Stevens; Second Place- senior-Corey Stump; and Third Place- senior- Sydney Mounts. Each contestant recited two poems from memory. The performances were recorded and McClanahan hopes to upload the video soon to YouTube. They are also to create a video analyzing the program. “We are doing a ‘closet videotaping’ like they do on reality shows,” McClanahan said. “I thought it might make the analysis fun for all.”