Ten students from LSMSA competed in the Poetry Out Loud contest held Thursday, Feb. 9, in the recital hall of the Center for Performance and Technology.
Competitors were Sydney McCollough, a junior from Mansfield; Caitlynn Sengchiam, a sophomore from New Iberia; Ian Crochet, a sophomore from New Iberia; Anne-Marie Higginbotham, a sophomore from Lafayette; Rosemarie Skillman, a sophomore from Denham Springs; Cydnie Andrepont, a sophomore from Crowley; Lauren Tuggle, a senior from Benton; Dakota Trim, a sophomore from Baton Rouge; Nautica Jones, a junior from St. Martinville; and Gavin Jones, a senior from Shreveport.
Each contestant recited two poems from memory. Their presentations were judged by a panel of three former LSMSA English teachers – Dr. Nahla Beier, Dr. Rodney Allen and Dr. Art Williams.
Anne-Marie Higginbotham placed first in the event. She recited “Domestic Situation” by Ernest Hilbert and “I Am Learning to Abandon the World” by Linda Pastan.
“I chose these poems because they both discuss subjects that I feel are important,” said Higginbotham. “Also, by reciting these poems, I feel like their messages could impact and maybe even make people reconsider how they look at things in life for the better.”
Higginbotham said that at first reciting poetry in front of a crowd and judges seemed really intimidating.
“However, I considered how I have already had experience performing in front of an audience and the fact that I now know how to conquer stage fright, so I decided that I would participate.
“Poetry has always been a passion of mine, and when I realized that I could practice my passion in a comfortable environment for a special project, I had to pursue it.”
Rosemarie Skillman placed second in the competition. She recited “Truth” by Gwendolyn Brooks and “All This and More” by Mary Karr.
“I chose these poems because they are the type of poems I enjoy,” said Skillman.
Higginbotham, Skillman and Lauren Tuggle, who placed third, will represent LSMSA at the state competition set for Saturday, March 11, at the Capital Park Museum in Baton Rouge. The state competition is sponsored by the Arts Council of Baton Rouge, with assistance from the Louisiana Division of the Arts.
“I am so excited and honored to represent LSMSA at the state competition,” said Higginbotham. “I am also a little nervous, but I know that with all of the love and support I am already receiving from my family and friends, I will be confident when the day of the competition comes.”