On Dec. 15, my husband and I attended Gardiner High School’s Poetry Out Loud contest for the first time. This contest is part of a process that determines a National Poetry Out Loud winner.

We were completely amazed at the talent of the students. Every high school English class held its own competition. Each student had to learn and recite a poem from memory, and a winner was chosen from each classroom. These 20 students went on to the schoolwide competition on the evening of the 15th.

The poems ranged from classics to urban contemporary poetry. The winner will go to a state competition that will determine Maine’s winner, who will join students from all the other states in Washington, D.C., to decide the national winner.

Attending this event made for a magical night in this season of hustle and bustle. The room was hushed, as the audience seemed to hang on to each student’s words. I was amazed at how eloquent the students were. It was a real treat to see students who don’t normally perform in dramatic school events doing such a wonderful job.

I’d like to extend kudos to Gardiner’s English department and the students for a great evening. In our age of electronics, it was a treat to hear great spoken words.

Barbara Oesterlin-Heath


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