Video created by Gabriel Fresehaie. 

Malden High School held the Poetry Out Loud (POL) final competition on February 5th during a long block in the school’s auditorium. The competition was sharp and the audience was really cheery for their classmates. Each finalist recited two poems, the original one they recited at the semi-finals and a new one of their choice. 

During the first round, sophomore, Ketshaly Philomen, who won the finals, recited “The Song of the Feet” by Nikki Giovanni. Senior, Sara Zakaria, who won second place, recited “The Mortician in San Francisco” by Randall Mann. Sophomore, Sarah Oliveira, who won third place, recited “ I Am Offering This Poem” by Jimmy Santiago Baca. 

POL Finals Winner, Ketshaly Philome, reciting her poem. Photo taken by Anna Silva.

After the first round, there was a teacher’s competition, in which Thomas Snarsky won first place. Snarsky is an AP Research teacher and Math teacher at Malden High School and he is also a poet.  Many of the final competitors talked about how the teacher competition was another way to help students with confidence and to prove they can also be competitors.

Senior, Francesca Seac, mentioned that “Poetry Out Loud is relevant because it gives [students] the chance to build confidence to speak in front of big audiences.” Different students had different reactions when talking about how they were feeling towards the competition and talking in public. 

Francesca Seac reciting her poem. Photo taken by Anna Silva.

Zakaria for example, said “[she] has a lot of experience with public speaking, but it is always so nerve-wracking whenever [she] has to do it.” She also said that it made her feel accomplished. On the other hand, Seac shared that “[she] was mostly feeling nervous that [she] would mess up standing in front of such a big crowd but it was also exciting being able to do so.”

Poetry Out Loud can be stressful and exciting, and students have the opportunity to interact and participate in it every year and each year is a new opportunity to do better. 

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