The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Pathfinder

The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Pathfinder

Lines and rhymes

Senior Dana Zafarani wins 2024 Poetry Out Loud School Competition
Smiling+widely%2C+senior+Dana+Zafarani+embraces+English+teacher+and+contest+organizer+Andria+Benmuvhar+after+being+announced+as+West%E2%80%99s+2024+Poetry+Out+Loud+champion.+Zafarani+will+represent+West+at+the+regional+competition+in+February.+%E2%80%9CI%E2%80%99ve+done+Poetry+Out+Loud+for+the+last+two+years.+I%E2%80%99m+a+senior+now%2C+so+I+want+to+make+it+count%2C%E2%80%9D+Zafarani+said.
Serena Liu
Smiling widely, senior Dana Zafarani embraces English teacher and contest organizer Andria Benmuvhar after being announced as West’s 2024 Poetry Out Loud champion. Zafarani will represent West at the regional competition in February. “I’ve done Poetry Out Loud for the last two years. I’m a senior now, so I want to make it count,” Zafarani said.
Sophomore Victoria Gold holds a microphone and stands in the library, looking out towards the judges as she faces the crowd.
Looking towards the judges’ table, sophomore Victoria Gold prepares to perform her poems. Gold recited “April Love” by Ernest Dawson and “The Arrow and the Song” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. “I really liked getting to hear everyone else read their poems, and practicing mine was fun,” Gold said. (Serena Liu)

On Wednesday, 12 students performed in the 2024 Poetry Out Loud School Competition in the library. They delivered a wide range of poems, both contemporary and historical, memorized from Poetry Out Loud’s collection.

During the competition, organized by the school chapter of National English Honors Society, each student recited two poems. Senior Presley George selected “Piano” by D.H. Lawrence and “April Midnight” by Arthur Symons.

“‘Piano’ is more personal to me. It’s about childhood nostalgia and wanting to be a kid again, so I’m excited to express that and show my feelings through someone else’s work,” George said.

Poetry Out Loud takes place annually at West. In previous years, school winners have attended the state and national levels of the contest. 

“I did Poetry Out Loud last year, so I knew what to expect,” sophomore Ella Bruner said. “It was a lot of fun to [learn] my poems and [be] able to perform for my friends beforehand and then perform here.”

Following her recital of “An Anthology of Rain” by Phillis Levin, senior Cora Tiemeier returns to her seat in the audience, celebrated with a chorus of snapping. The tradition of snapping at poetry readings is intended to show appreciation for the performer while remaining at a low volume. “[My favorite part] was the beginning stages of reading and analyzing my poem. There was a lot of interesting details that I got to discover or meaning that I found out. Doing that part of it made memorizing and reciting the poem a lot easier and a lot more fun,” Tiemeier said.

Four judges observed the event, rating students on categories including physical presence, voice and articulation, interpretation, evidence of understanding and overall performance.

“I like to see kids getting up there and taking a risk. It takes a lot of courage to get up there and perform something in front of a crowd,” English teacher and judge Diana Lurkins said. “It’s such a great learning experience for them.”

In the end, freshman Alisha Yin and junior Felicity Jackson won third and second place respectively, while senior Dana Zafarani took home the champion title. Zafarani performed “Listening in Deep Space” by Diane Thiel and “My Darling Turns to Poetry at Night” by Anthony Lawrence.

“The emotion elicited through the poems was really meaningful. I loved it. It took a bit of practice to get along with it, but I really enjoyed them,” Zafarani said.

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About the Contributor
Serena Liu, Editor-in-Chief
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 12 Years on staff: 3 What is your favorite piece of literature? Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut Who is your hero? My mom! She’s the most incredible person I know and also she reads my stories so she might see this. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Mac & cheese all the way.
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    Will GonsiorJan 19, 2024 at 12:39 pm

    Thank you Serena
    Dana is a superstar
    haiku WE LIKE THAT

    Reply