Poetry Out Loud (VIDEO)

Posted December 9, 2013

As the air turns brisk, if only for a day or two, students around Charleston, the state of South Carolina and across the country choose poems to memorize. This ritual has become as engrained as midterm tests in some schools, and Porter-Gaud has taken up the Poetry Out Loud charge en masse. The P-G campus has been ensconced in the NEA program since its inception in 2007; however, Porter-Gaud has taken the program designed for high school students and written it in to the curriculum school wide. Throughout October, the students can be seen crisscrossing campus, heads down and brows furrowed as they attempt to memorize the wrinkled leaf of paper in their hands.

Poetry Out Loud, however, is not only about memorization, it is about presentation, interpretation, and competition. It may have something to do with the performance aspect, or perhaps the choice, students may choose from a list of over 600 poems online, or maybe it has to do with being part of a shared experience. Few assignments can bridge such vast academic expanses as Poetry Out Loud. Twelve year olds stand next to a twelfth graders memorizing the same Shakespearian sonnet. Regardless of the motivation, the atmosphere is electric during this time of year.

The buzz of anticipation generated from the students as they enter class ready to recite creates a low murmur as they make sure they have that last couplet down. Each class votes on their favorite recitation. This student then competes after school against the other winners in his or her grade. Finally, the top two students from each grade compete against each other at either the Middle School or Upper School competition.

When all the votes have been tallied, the winner is often a surprise. The stage of competitors is filled with every type of student. There are girls versus boys, defensive linemen versus volleyball players, fifteen year olds versus college bound seniors, and all come to win.


9th Grade

  • Ali Lovell
  • Elizabeth White

10th Grade

  • Cross Tolliver - Second Runner-Up
  • Lydia Puwalski - Winner

11th Grade

  • G. W. Jilich
  • Chelsea McKelvey - First Runner-Up

12th Grade

  • Jack Cahill
  • Mikhala Cooper
  • Lillian Saul

6th Grade

  • Anushka Ferdandes
  • Brendan Kelleher - First Runner-Up
  • Pilar Stolarczyk
  • Courtenay White - Winner

7th Grade

  • Nelle Alexander
  • George Easter
  • Gelsey Jaymes
  • Ben Kahn

8th Grade

  • Ron Brown
  • Jake Lanford - Second Runner-Up
  • Ellen Nirenblatt
  • Annemarie Thompson

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