Parker takes second at annual poetry competition
Jessica Parker has earned a second place for her recitation of three separate poems at the annual Poetry Out Loud competition Jan. 18. As in the past, the regional contest was held at the Allentown Art Museum.
Dressed in a black dressed patterned with embroidered flowers, Parker seemed to embody the themes of the three poems she memorized for her recitation.
These included Lord Byron’s “She Walks in Beauty,” and two newer works, one by Ellen Bass about a butterfly, and another by Liz Waldner about a moth.
“One of the reasons why I wanted to do it is I just like poetry,” said Parker, after reciting her first two poems. “It’s sad no one else in our school seems interested.”
This was the second time Parker competed.
“Jess has been writing for years,” said her mother with pride. “She stayed after school to rehearse.”
In preparation for the event, Parker met with coordinating teacher Ann Way and Language Arts Department Chair Pam Henderson “at least three or four times,” according to Way.
The two teachers joined Parker’s parents at the museum to lend their support.
Kelty Darvin, Northwestern’s 2017 Poetry Out Loud representative and Parker’s close friend, also attended the event, which is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.
“We didn’t get as many chances to meet [as we would have liked] because of the weather,” said Way, who has been promoting the competition since she first heard about it at a National Council Teacher of English conference eleven years ago.
Northwestern has the longest running record with Poetry Out Loud.
“It takes courage to recite [a poem] in front of people,” said Way. “I don’t think I could do it.”
Both teachers feel that it’s a valuable experience.
“I encourage my students to memorize a few lines of poetry,” said Henderson, who believes poetry can be celebratory or comforting at times.
Northwestern was one of seven schools participating in the event.
Lydia Burnett, from Freedom High School took first place.
Students from Whitehall, Easton, Salisbury, Weatherly and Pleasant Valley also participated.
Burnett will compete in Harrisburg with other regional winners.
The state winner will move on to the national competition.