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Battle Ground High School students Amy Eells, Katt Gamblin and Alison Marlin (left to right) finished in the top three at the Poetry Out Loud competition in December.

Junior Amy Eells took first place in Battle Ground High School’s ninth Poetry Out Loud competition in December with her recitation of “The Flash Reverses Time” by A. Van Jordan, advancing her to the next round of the competition. 

Eells will represent Battle Ground High in the regional finals at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24 at ESD 112, 2500 NE 65th Ave., Vancouver.

BGHS junior Katt Gamblin finished in second place with her recitation of Brenda Shaughnessy’s “I Have a Time Machine.” Sophomore Alison Marlin took third with the poem “Revenge” by Letitia Elizabeth Landon.

“Poetry Out Loud has become a pre-winter break tradition at Battle Ground High School, where a very difficult academic endeavor is celebrated and enjoyed,” event coordinator and BGHS teacher Heather Smithline said in a press release from the district. “We’re pretty proud of the event, and are very appreciative of the judges, parents, teachers, principals, and fellow students who showed up to cheer on the reciters.”  

Students memorize classic or modern poems that they recite before a panel of judges. The competition is set up like a spelling bee: students first compete in the classroom, with winners moving on to a school-wide competition. The winners at the school level have the opportunity to advance to regionals, state, and nationals.

Judges at the competition were BGPS deputy superintendent Denny Waters; BGHS English and literature teacher Kathy Ferrier; Clark County Poet Laureate Christopher Luna; professional development manager for Digital Learning at ESD 112 and Fisher Poet contributor Katherine Livick; BGHS assistant principals Heather Ichimura and Scott Yingling; and serving as the event’s accuracy judge was BGHS English teacher Julie Main.

The regional competition, presented by ESD 112 in partnership with the Washington State Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance and competition.

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