• Vandiver Will Represent GSA in Regional Competition

    Junior Magnolia Vandiver was selected the winner of the George Stevens Academy schoolwide Poetry Out Loud competition in December. Sophomore Emma Snow was named runner-up.

         Poetry Out Loud, a poetry recitation competition organized at the national level by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is administered in Maine by The Maine Arts Commission. English teacher Maria Johnson organized the GSA event and introduced the competitors.

         Vandiver, Snow, and freshman Rose Kazmierczak each recited two poems, one contemporary and one from before the 20th century, in front of a panel of judges. Vandiver recited “Advice to a Prophet,” by Richard Wilbur, and “When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be,” by John Keats.

         Though she won the schoolwide competition last year and made it all the way to state competition, Vandiver was surprised to win again. “There were ... other great people in the competition,” she said, “and poetry is so subjective that it’s hard to tell what made me win.”

         To practice, she read and spoke the poems aloud a lot, taking the time to think about each line to better understand the poets' intentions.  

         Snow recited “Harold & the Purple Crayon,” by D. Gilson, and “England in 1819,” by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Kazmierczak’s two poems were David Kirby’s “Broken Promises” and “She Walks in Beauty,” by Lord Byron (George Gordon).

         “The performances were remarkably mature and impressive,” said judge Anya Antonovych, an art teacher at GSA. The other judges were Libby Edwardson and Liffey Thorpe. The accuracy judge was Tim Seeley. Score tallier was Elisabeth de Sévigné. Michael Kazmierczak was prompter, but none of the competitors needed prompting.

         Vandiver will compete in the Northern Maine Regional Finals at Hampden Academy on Monday, Feb. 3. For this, she must learn a third poem, which she already has selected, “The Greatest Grandeur” by Pattiann Rogers. If for any reason she cannot compete, Snow will take her place as runner-up. All are welcome to this free event, which beings at 3 P.M. and is expected to conclude around 5:30 P.M.

         The Poetry Out Loud “program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about literary history and contemporary life,” according to The Maine Arts Commission.