Poetry Out Loud state champion crowned at Hudson Valley

Paola Pelaez, Staff Writer

The state finals of “Poetry Out Loud” were held at Hudson Valley on Mar. 4, hosting students from high schools across the state in a total of three rounds.

The rules were simple: recite the poem, whether it be with hand gestures or voice intonations. Each could give the chosen poem their own interpretation.

The outcome of the competition was decided by adding up individual scores. When asked who his favorite was, Reggie Paris, one of the judges and a poet himself, replied, “I can’t answer that. It’s like asking a parent which of their children is their favorite.”

“I liked all of them, I couldn’t choose just one,” said Mary Panza, who was also a judge.

Schuyler Press, a student from New York City, took first place and will now go on to compete in the national competition in Washington, D.C. Chiara Raimondo was the runner up.

Press’ journey began in one of her classes when her teacher believed that it was time to switch the class structure by involving more poetry.

“Through poetry the writer is able to describe with great precision the way they feel about something, everything through words,” said Press.

“Before starting this contest I was very nervous, not knowing what to expect. Then during the competition I realized that unlike at my school where some were great, here everyone was great,” said Press. “Everyone was above the level.”

“If you don’t act to a certain degree then the message won’t go through to the audience and all of the contestants did just that,” said runner-up Chiara Raimondo.

“I was just in awe of everyone else and how emotional they got. Before the event I was just nervous as I always get before a contest, but afterwards I just felt proud of myself. So I can say that the outcome of the event was fair,” said Raimondo.

After Raimondo finished second in this contest she expressed, “Let me stick to reciting! I don’t think I could actually write out a poem. I’m not intelligent enough to reach that high level of language!”

Schuyler Press now moves on to the last round of this contest where she must compete against other state winners on Apr. 30 at George Washington University.

“I’m just taking this all one step at a time. This really was a great experience,” said Press.

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