Las Vegas Sun

August 23, 2017

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High school students show their eloquence at poetry contest


Richard Brian

Green Valley’s Jordyn Barry was one of 18 students to read two poems aloud in front of several judges during the Poetry Out Loud contest at the West Charleston Library on Thursday.

Poetry Out Loud

Green Valley's Ashkaan Kouhpa was one of 18 students to read two poems aloud in front of several judges during the Poetry Out Loud contest at the West Charleston Library on Thursday. Launch slideshow »

The winners

Top three finishers at the Poetry Out Loud competition, all of Shadow Ridge High School:

  • 1st — Nandi Spencer, $250
  • 2nd — Libby Bakke, $150
  • 3rd — Erica Buitrago, $100

Other participants:

Jaci Thomas of Coronado High School; Brian Aquino, Ryan Cotter and Tanya Pautip of College of Southern Nevada High School West; Brittany Netherton and Desiree Ramirez of Del Sol High School; Jordyn Barry, Isabelle Bellinghausen and Ashkaan Kouhpa of Green Valley High School; Chelsea Graybeal, Jamie Mumma and Grace Tiburcio of Palo Verde High School; and Jessica Book, Norma Cardenas and Joey Hoskins of Southeast Career Technical Academy.

Students at Shadow Ridge High School in Las Vegas swept a poetry contest Thursday, but it wasn't without some stiff competition from Henderson and Summerlin students.

In all, 18 students were involved in Poetry Out Loud, which asks students to read two poems in front of several judges. They represented Coronado, College of Southern Nevada High School West, Del Sol, Green Valley, Palo Verde, Southeast Career Technical Academy and Shadow Ridge high schools.

The winner of the competition, Nandi Spencer of Shadow Ridge, will go to Reno March 7 to compete for an opportunity to move on to the national competition in Washington, D.C.

Some of the schools, like Palo Verde, were celebrating the first time they had any students compete.

The three Palo Verde students gave their teacher, James Lippitt, all of the credit for getting them interested.

"He's fierce," Grace Tiburcio said.

Lippitt said the credit should actually go to the students. They worked after school and took time off from other activities to participate, he said.

Jaci Thomas of Coronado was also a first-time performer, encouraged by her teacher, Linda Larson. She was supposed to compete with friend and classmate Taylor Bearden, but Bearden was unable to make it.

Despite not placing in the top three, Thomas was pleased with her performances. She was in her school's theater program, but dropped it for creative writing, so being on the stage was natural for her.

Seeing all of the other performances was a highlight, she said.

"Reading a poem is one thing, but to hear it performed… I love that," she said. She plans to compete again next year.

Each performance is based on six factors: physical presence, voice and articulation, appropriateness of dramatization, level of difficulty, evidence of understanding and overall performance.

Students can receive a maximum of 42 points. They also receive up to eight points from an accuracy judge, who may knock off full or partial points for mistakes such as incorrect or forgotten words.

Frances Vanderploeg can be reached at 990-2660 or [email protected].

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