WAHS junior to compete in Poetry Out Loud states

The poetry competition for ninth to 12th grade students, Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, was recently held on Jan. 17 for regional high school students. Oam Patel, an 11th grade student Williamsport Area High School, took first place followed by first runner up Chloe Greene, a 12th grade student at Bloomsburg Christian School.

Patel, the winner of the regional Poetry Out Loud competition, won an all-expense paid trip to Harrisburg, to compete in the state finals. He also will receive $200 and Williamsport Area High School will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. Green, the first runner-up will receive $100, with $200 for their school library.

Patel earned his first-place win by reciting “Dream Song 14” by John Berryman, “After Working 60 Hours Again for What Reason?” by Bob Hicok and “Charles Sumner” by Charlotte L. Fortin Grimke. The 2020 state championship will take place on March 9 at the Harrisburg State Museum.

Patel is member of the Williamsport Area High School cross country team, STEM Club, Future Business Leaders of America and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).

“It feels amazing to have participated in the Poetry Out Loud Competition. It was an amazing opportunity where you can feel a different part of yourself come out during recitations,” Patel said.

Also participating in this year’s regional competition included Megan Robinson, of Athens Area High School; Cara Bohner, of Danville Area High School; Kaitlyn Moyer, of Jersey Shore Area High School; Arika Woodward, of North Penn-Liberty High School; Ben Fry, of Sullivan County High School; Lucilia Renae Fink, of Towanda Area High School; and Emma Mack, of Troy Area School District.

Poetry Out Loud is a national competition that encourages the study of poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high school students across the country. Poetry Out Loud helps students to develop analytical and public speaking skills, while building self-confidence. Every year, high schools throughout Pennsylvania are invited to compete in classrooms, school-wide competitions and regional competitions with the winners advancing to state and national finals.

The state champion of the Poetry Out Loud Pennsylvania final will receive an all-expense-paid trip, with an adult chaperone, to compete in the national finals in Washington, D.C. The Poetry Out Loud national finals will present a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends, with a $20,000 award for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion. The Poetry Foundation provides and administers all aspects of the monetary prizes awarded and travel arrangements for Poetry Out Loud.