ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) — In March, Bethlehem Central High School junior Pamela White was named the winner of the New York State Poetry Recitation Aloud Contest. White’s passion for poetry stems from a class assignment in ninth grade.
White said she was shocked when she won the state title, admitting she didn’t expect to advance to the state finals.
“Honestly, I was stunned when I left the regional contest, so winning the state contest and being able to compete against students from across the country while representing New York State is so exciting,” White said. .
Poetry Out Loud is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation aimed at encouraging high school students to discover great poetry – both classical and contemporary – through memorization, performance and competition.
White’s winning recitations included the poems:
- Candles by Carl Dennis
- Oranges by Roisin Kelly
- In a London salon by George Eliot
White will now represent New York State at the 2022 Poetry Out Loud National Finals where winners from all 50 states – as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam and the Virgin Islands – will compete for over $50,000 in rewards.
At Bethlehem Central High School, Poetry Out Loud was first introduced to students in the 2017-2018 school year by high school English teacher Andrew Rickert.
“I’m thrilled for Pam,” Rickert said. “His success is really attributed to his hard work. She studied her poems closely for any subtle nuances her recitations might bring out and I think the judges saw that.
White says she looks forward to representing New York State in the national competition and serving as a role model for other students who may be exploring poetry for the first time. The national competition will be held virtually this year.
“Although it’s a bit of a shame not to perform in person, all state finalists work with a professional recording team to record their poems for the national competition,” White said. “As a performer, it’s kind of a dream come true!”
The national semi-finals will take place on May 1. The top nine students will qualify for the national final on Sunday, June 5. The semi-finals and finals will be broadcast by the National Endowment for the Arts.