An Assembly to Remember

Adrianna Hurtado waves to the crowd at the conclusion of her winning performance

By: Daniel Couthran

The students piled into the auditorium, the judges sat patiently with pencils and a critical mind, and the participants waited backstage for their time to shine. The annual Poetry Out Loud competition was presented by Mr. Burgess and his students 6th hour on Thursday February 2, 2012. It was more than just an excuse for students to get out of their last class of the week, it was a chance for the average teenager to broaden his horizons to the majesty and splendor of classical poetry, and whether he viewed it that way is another story.

 As one contestant after another emerged and worked through their poem, they were deafened by the roar of the thunderous applause guiding them off stage and the competition began to draw to the close. While the judges tallied their votes, the hushed murmur of fidgety students swept the hallowed hall. The National Honors Society found this as a good time to promote their upcoming talent show, which was to be held that night. The talent ranged from Miles Mabey’s impressive frenzy of lights to Patrick O’Connor’s witty wordplay in his inspirational poem “Tacos”. The students dutifully showered each volunteer with applause.

 “It was a really strange feeling, like I had a tough act to follow when I wasn’t even competing in Poetry Out Loud.” O’Connor said. “I couldn’t even take shelter in the fact that I was reading an original work because of how the judges had fantastic performances. Overall, I felt good about it and had fun.”

The auditorium, which was usually a harsh and unforgiving atmosphere for a speaker who hasn’t brought their A-Game, was more than pleased as the judges were brought on stage for their contributions to the arts. An uplifting song set behind an acoustic guitar’s poetic and mesmerizing melody lightened the mood, while the next judge’s original Harry Potter parody on Lord Voldemort elicited a jubilant response from the otherwise indifferent crowd.

 “Poetry Out Loud was a great opportunity for the audience and the participants to develop a greater appreciating for the art of poetry,” Amanda Romaine exclaimed about the competition.

 After the votes were tallied, a drum roll was induced by Mr. Burgess, and the winner, Adrianna Hurtado was announced. School pride ran rampant in support of the winner, who will continue to the next round of the competition with the full backing of the faculty and students alike.

 At the end of the day, everyone felt like they had accomplished something from this brief, hour- long endeavor. The contestants congratulated themselves on a job well done, and then realized that the poem that they memorized would probably disappear from their memory by the end of the year, with various lines reappearing in their subconscious thirty years down the road. The winner will be able to relish the moment and begin to look forward to the next challenge. The students, in a comatose state of existence from being packed shoulder to shoulder on uncomfortable chairs in a crowded stuffy room, felt catharsis upon sensing fresh air once again.

 And until next year, we are left waiting for what unique poems are in store for the future, and if this year is any indicator, it will be quite a show.

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