Emily Lee at Bob Jones places at Poetry Out Loud state meet

MADISON – Emily Lee, a student at Bob Jones High School, reached the top five among contestants in the state-level Poetry Out Loud: Recitation Contest.

Lee reached fourth place in the state for the contest. “The competition had to be held via video entries and Zoom meetings. This was a big change from past competitions because we could not enjoy face-to-face competitions,” Nichole Murray said. Murray teaches English and sponsors Poetry Out Loud at Bob Jones.

“We did not get to see any of the competitors’ videos until we participated in the awards ceremony. With many changes and bumps in the road due to COVID-19, the Poetry Out Loud competitions continued and remodeled their format to be virtual,” Murray told “Patriot Pages” staff at Bob Jones. (bjhspatriotpages.com)

Normally, about 25 students at Bob Jones enter the poetry contest. “This year, we had less. I’m so proud of the girls who won the school competition and went on to continue with the regional and state competitions,” Murray said.

Lee delivered poems in three competitions to qualify for state competition. She memorized “Sonnet 29” by William Shakespeare, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth and “The Animals in That Country” by Margaret Atwood.

“I had so much fun and learned many things from the Poetry Out Loud competition last year that I decided to get involved again this year to see if I improved,” Lee said.

“I used to think that poems were dull pieces of literary work that I had to analyze in English class,” Lee said. “However, I realized that poetry is another unique way to develop my emotional intelligence as it allows me to express my feelings and see the world through different perspectives.”

As a workaround for COVID-19, Lee used different tactics to prepare. She couldn’t attend in-person workshops, so Lee relied on poem annotation, analysis of well-known poets, reflection and her own practice performances to invisible audiences.

As a teacher, Murray agrees with the contest’s “opportunity for students to showcase their love for poetry and to write original poetry to share with a large audience. I feel like a proud mom when I see my students perform.”

For more information about “Patriot Pages,” visit bjhspatriotpages.com.

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