For the second year in a row, Rosie Reyes of Gresham’s Center for Advanced Learning is the Oregon Poetry Out Loud state champion. Reyes, an 18-year-old senior, was one of nine regional finalists who competed in Saturday’s state Poetry Out Loud contest at Willamette University. She advances to the national Poetry Out Loud competition, scheduled for April 29 and 30 in Washington, D.C.
Mike Chasar, a professor of English at Willamette University who served as a judge for the regional and state competitions, called Reyes’ reading of Alberto Rios’s “The Pomegranate and the Big Crowd” “spellbinding.”
Maxwell Romprey of West Salem High School was named Oregon’s runner up; if for any reason Rosie is unable to participate in the national competition, Maxwell will represent Oregon.
The other seven students who placed in regional competitions and competed at the state contest Saturday are: Jerika Fuller, Alliance Charter Academy, Oregon City; Sofia Gispert Tello, Hermiston High School; Stephanie Gordon, Bandon High School;Gypsy Prince, Academy of Arts and Academics, Springfield (2013 regional participant); Rebekah Ratcliff, Cascade Christian High School, Medford (2013 state participant); McKinley Rodriguez, Lincoln High School, Portland (2011 state participant; 2013 regional participant); and Kylie Winger, St. Mary’s School, Medford (2013 regional participant).
“We had the pleasure of hosting nine outstanding students at state this year,” says Deb Vaughn, OAC education/Poetry Out Loud coordinator. “Among them, Rosie and Maxwell demonstrated poise and confidence.”
Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest for high school students, organized in Oregon by the Oregon Arts Commission in collaboration with the NEA and the Poetry Foundation. Participants memorize and present poems, practicing public speaking skills while exploring the complexity of poetry.
In 2014 more than 365,000 students, 2,300 schools and 8,800 teachers participated in Poetry Out Loud nationwide.