Survival of the Smartest

By Tyra Carter and Milena Romano

Staff Writers

The first English contest is Poetry Out Loud, which is available for students in grades 9-12. Students must memorize two poems  from the Poetry Out Loud anthology and then recite them in front of a panel of judges. J-DHS English teacher and Department Chair Joseph DeChick is one of the judges for the Poetry Out Loud competition. “They are being judged on memorization, their ability to recite the poem word for word from memory, and certainly delivery and performance,” said Mr. DeChick. By doing this contest students build public speaking skills and confidence. It’s also an opportunity for contestants to meet new people and “let their little light shine,“ says Mr. DeChick. If you are interested in signing up for the competition, submit a registry form to J-DHS English teacher Matthew Phillips in room R30. The school competition will take place on Thursday, Dec. 18. The top two school winners will then advance to the regional round at Onondaga Community College on Feb. 10, 2015. The overall winner will receive $20,000, second place will receive $10,000 and third place winner will receive $5,000.

The second contest is the Shakespeare Monologue competition. It’s a contest sponsored by the English Speaking Union for grades 9-12. In this competition you read, perform, and recite Shakespeare monologues and sonnets. The winners then advance to compete at the regional competition at Onondaga Community College. English teacher Joseph Goldberg has been J-DHS’s coordinator for this program for the past three years. Mr. Goldberg encourages everyone to get involved with the Shakespeare Monologue. In order to participate you need to see Mr. Goldberg in room R32 to get your name on the list, as a date for the competition has not been established yet. Prizes can include cash and a trip to England. Mr. Goldberg says that it’s a great experience. “Some people may surprise themselves in terms of enjoying it more then they think they would,“ said Mr. Goldberg.

Senior Patrece Martin advocated for the Poetry Out Loud competition last year here at J-DHS. She had to prepare and memorize four poems to recite, one of which was “The Chimney Sweeper” by William Blake. “You can't go in and think you’re going to win, you have to prepare,” says Martin. Sophomore Michelle Pan also engaged in the Poetry Out Loud competition here at J-DHS. She encourages everyone to get involved because she thought it was a great experience. “It was amazing to watch,” said Pan, even though she they will not be participating in the contest again this year.

If you are still hesitant about competing in any of the contests, just remember sophomore Sara Peters says, “Don't give up,” and if you have any further questions about the contests ask Mr. Goldberg (R32) and Mr. Phillips (R30).