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Poerty Out Loud-- a wonderful national contest... homeschoolers welcome... and info on local Greensburg PA contest February 3, 2012
Leigh Jerz, 12/20/2011

Editor’s Note from Susan Richman: I love the annual Poetry Out Loud contest, and it’s wonderful to see that homeschoolers are continuing to have fine opportunities to take part in this program, which has local, regional, state, and national levels of competition. In the past half-dozen years, homeschoolers in Pennsylvania have done very well in this competition—with PHAA graduate Olivia Meldrum (now a junior at Franciscan University in Ohio, majoring in sacred music) one year winning at the state level and going on to National competition. I treasure the opportunity to have heard Olivia recite her poetry selections for me at her annual evaluation meetings—she truly used this contest as a vehicle to explore poetry deeply, gain real presence in recitation, and develop her appreciation of a full range of poems from varied eras.  Some years there have been as many as three homeschoolers making it to the ‘top ten’ finalists in Pennsylvania—and I’m sure all gained immensely by participating.

The contest involves memorizing and reciting one poem from the Poetry Out Loud online anthology at the local level, two poems at regionals, and three at the state level.  The website gives excellent guidelines to families – you can make this an important part of your English program for your high school homeschooler. Many parents might feel at a loss in approaching poetry—use this contest website to guide your teens towards real appreciation.  Below is specific info on the Greesburg area local homeschoolers competition, open to any homeschoolers nearby (Westmoreland County in Western PA). If you know of other local homeschool groups hosting competitions, do post below as a ‘comment’. This would be a *wonderful* activity for a homeschool co-op to consider—I know many co-ops have high school English classes or drama classes, and hosting this contest would be a great activity!


StageRight of Greensburg is offering homeschoolers the chance to participate in the Poetry Out Loud contest, scheduled for  Friday February 3, 2012.  Artistic Director Tony Marino will be judging the contest.  High School homeschool students (Grades 9-12, plus 8th-graders who are taking High School English) need only recite ONE poem from the many listed on the Poetry Out Loud website; the winner gets to participate in the Regional competition in February at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg-- and that winner goes to state (which requires 3 poems). The location will be StageRight, 100 North Main St, Greensburg PA 15601

StageRight has extra copies of the print copy of the official Poetry Out Loud poetry anthology (listing SOME of the poems available online—here’s the link for the full anthology at the Poetry Out Loud website). StageRight is located at the corner of Main Street across from the Gbg County Courthouse (North side/ same as Palace Theatre).  Call StageRight at 724-832-7464 to let them know you have contestant.  They are also planning a local-level contest for younger siblings as well, to give them the experience-- so indicate if you're interested in that.  There is no cost to participate in the Poetry Out Loud Contest.

StageRight offers several homeschool productions throughout the year. This season it’s the Homeschool musical production of NARNIA (The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe), which happens at 7pm, Friday, December 16, and 2pm, Saturday, December 17, 2011 at the Greensburg Garden and Civic Center on Old Salem Road. Tickets for NARNIA are $8 adults, $6 students, and available at the door, or call 724-832-7464. 

Joan McGarry, Director of Education at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, is in charge of the regional contest in February.  For the complete list of rules by e-mail, or other questions, contact her at jmcgarry@wmuseumaa.org , or 724-837-1500, ext. 19.


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