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Poetry Out Loud 2013 County Finals
Connor Ricketts hits it out of the poetry park in EDAC’s fourth Poetry Out Loud County Competition!
On Thursday evening, February 7th, Charter University Prep freshman Connor Ricketts dazzled the audience and judges alike at Imagination Theater with his poem performances for EDAC’s Poetry Out Loud County Competition. His clear, powerful recitations of “War Ballad” by Stanley Moss and “Cartoon Physics, part 1” by Nick Flynn earned him the title of El Dorado County Poetry Out Loud Champion. Ricketts’ win also marks the first time that Charter University Prep will be sending a student to the California state Poetry Out Loud competition on March 24-25.
Kate Wells, the English teacher who launched Poetry Out Loud at Charter University Prep, is especially pleased to have Ricketts representing the school. “I was so impressed with his ability, coming in as a freshman,” said Wells. “He was so comfortable up there. He owns the stage. He’s also very humble, and soft-spoken in every other way, but when he gets up on stage, he sparkles.”
Placing second at the competition was Union Mine High School senior Crystin Segura with her precise performances of “To the Ladies” by Lady Mary Chudleigh and “Poetry” by Marianne Moore. Golden Sierra senior Rebecca Dolan was awarded third place with her stirring recitations of Bob Hicok’s “After working sixty hours again for what reason” and W.D. Ehrhart’s “Beautiful Wreckage.”
Students from four other county high schools who also delivered polished performances are Austin Daly from Oak Ridge, Clayton Hinzman from County Office of Education, Emma Holm from El Dorado, and Sophie Meyer from Ponderosa.
At the state contest in March, Ricketts will be competing against at least 30 other county champions. To prepare him for the big event, Sacramento poet Shawn Pittard and Lotus actress Heather Freer will be working in depth with Ricketts, not only coaching him on articulation, accuracy, and stage presence, but also helping him to plumb the meaning of the three poems that he needs to have under his belt. Pittard and Freer are the same team who coached Oak Ridge High School senior Corbin Gomez on to his winning the 2012 State Poetry Out Loud Competition and placing among the top twelve contestants at the National Poetry Out Loud Competition in Washington, D.C.
Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation competition sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Now in its eighth year, the program seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by building on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form. Through Poetry Out Loud, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.
At the local level, a generous grant from Women’s Fund El Dorado assisted with program outreach, enabling the Arts Council to recruit seven high schools and to train over 40 volunteers to judge at the individual high school competitions.