Leise competes at state Poetry Out Loud contest

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Gina Nguyen

Senior Aiden Leise (pictured here in an SGA Senate meeting) represented MSMS in the statewide “Poetry Out Loud” contest.

Kate McElhinney, Staff Writer

Senior Aiden Leise participated in the North Regional Poetry Out Loud Contest in Oxford last month. After placing second in the contest, Leise qualified for the state contest and represented MSMS in Jackson on Feb. 27 at the studios of Mississippi Public Broadcast. 

Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national arts education program that encourages the study of poetry among high school students across the country through memorization and performance. The goal of the program is to help students work on mastering their public speaking skills, building self confidence and learning about literature. The Mississippi state contest is sponsored by the Mississippi Arts Commission.

Advised by English teacher Dr. Scott Curtis for the past five years, the MSMS chapter of POL has seen much success in the past, with Victoria Gong qualifying for the state finals last year after placing third at the North Regional POL Contest and Lori Feng advancing to the regional contest in 2018. Additionally, in 2016, Joy Carino won the Miss. state competition and went on to represent the state at the national level.

At the state contest, the top three from the North, Central and South regions competed. In POL competitions, students recite poetry and work to improve their oratory skills. Those who competed were asked to recite two poems from memory, and they are judged based on various considerations, including accuracy, diction skills and the students’ apparent understanding of the poetry.

Leise enjoyed the chance to compete and represent MSMS in the contest. Additionally, this was an opportunity to see the broadcast room and observe how recordings are made.

“I really enjoyed having a chance to compete. Even though poetry recitation is kind of an odd concept for a contest, it seemed like a good exercise in oration,” Leise said. “It was neat getting to see how a previously recorded broadcast is put together, from the green room with a view of the control room to the retakes of what will eventually seem smooth and continuous.”

Although Leise did not advance to the final round of the state contest, the complete results have not been released. The contest will be aired on Mississippi Public Broadcast television on April 24 and 26.