Hawks accesss their artistic side in Poetry Out Loud contest


Sophomore Samantha Beeman recites a poem, “I find no peace” by Thomas Wyatt during the Poetry Out Loud competition in the auditorium on January 24th.

Jalyn Williams, Writer

Hazelwood Central students gathered together in the auditorium during AML on January 24th to select a winner for the school’s Poetry Out Loud contest.

The Poetry Out Loud competition started with the MC, junior Cardyss Williams, giving a brief overview of what was happening that day.  According to Ms.Weingart, faculty adviser of Poetry Out Loud, there were 23 kids that participated in the competition. The performances were diverse, with a variety of styles, moods, and even languages expressed.

Poetry Out Loud is a nationwide competition that started  in 2006 by the National Endowment for the Arts. The competition consists of picking a poem and reciting it in front of a crowd with lots of emotion. The first stage is a school competition, then it goes to a state competition, then the winners compete at national with kids that won each state competition.  

Junior Cardyss Williams is participating in Poetry Out Loud for the second year. This year she did a poem called “300 Goats” by Naomi Shihab Nye. Williams chose this poem because it was intriguing and different. She started writing and reciting poetry when she was 11 to express herself because she was quiet.

“I had a lot of bottled up emotions and had a lot of things to say,” said Williams. 

Central English teacher Mrs. Wilimzig is one of the teachers that was over the competition for the school level. This is her first year being a judge and participating in the Poetry Out Loud competition. Mrs. Wilimzig joined because she thought it would be fun and would be a good experience for the kids.

“I have always been intrigued by poetry and I wanted to try something new,” said Wilimzig. 

Sophomore Samatha Beeman has been interested in poetry for many years. She also participated in this year’s Poetry Out Loud competition. She chose the poem “I Find No Peace” by Thomas Wyatt.

“I chose to do Poetry Out Loud because poetry speaks to me,” said Beeman. “I wanted to display emotion while performing poetry so others could truly connect to.”

Cardyss Williams has some advice for students looking to participate next year. 

“Never force a poem-let it flow with you also be creative, be yourself, and just stick with it,” Williams said.

Mrs. Wilimzig wants her students to go out and experience new things even if it makes them uncomfortable.

“If you’re afraid of public speaking and this is out of your comfort zone and go for it… that’s the only way to get over your fear,” said Wilimzig.

Cardyss Williams agrees. Her advice for people who might be afraid to participate in something like this is to just go for it.

“Don’t be afraid and go experience new things,” said Williams.

This is what Samantha Beeman did and she found that the experience for her was a positive one.

“It helped relieve a lot of stress.”