Recite Night Champions

Iris Lee, Staff Writer

   Recite Night was finally over, and the buildup of adrenaline finally began to subside. Each contestant performed amazing poetry recitations, and the atmosphere was intense. Although the event itself was over, the following days stretched into what seemed like an eternity. After ominous days filled with anticipation, the top 10 Recite Night competitors were announced on January 12th. Sophia Lopez, Janessa Montilla, Emma Schenker, Mariana Riano, Natalia Montgomery, Isabella Rodriquez, Nitya Dave, Carolina Calonge, Julian Villarta, and Helen Godoy were all selected as Recite Night finalists, and were provided with the opportunity of participating in the POL championship at the NEHS Poetry Slam on February 9th. 

   Just a few weeks ago, these finalists were still spending painstaking hours memorizing every line they were provided, truly connecting to the poetry. “I think that when reciting, you really have to get in depth with your poem. I got to know mine, and you have to figure out all the little things that can separate you from the top 25, to the top 20, to the top 10. Modulation, tone, body language, everything comes into play. Of course, when you’re nervous, it can come off looking mechanical… which is why you must practice being consciously aware of everything that you’re doing in order for everything to fall into place,” says Sophia Lopez, sophomore. 

   However, when the day finally arrived, for some, no amount of preparation could ever amount to the anxiety of actually performing. According to Nitya Dave, junior, “I was so terrified. While watching everyone perform, I was silently repeating my poem to myself because I was so afraid that I’d forget onstage. To be honest, a couple days before the slam, I told Mrs. Phelps that I might back out because of how nervous I was. I signed up in a haze of sleep deprivation, and when I woke up the next morning, I regretted everything.”


But now, everything has changed. In less than 2 weeks, these finalists will all be competing for the opportunity to represent the entire school at the subsequent Poetry Slam. However, through the stress of competition, these finalists have truly been able to foster their love for poetry. “Even though I was terrified, it was a really sympathetic experience, because it really felt like everyone wanted you to do well, including people who were supposed to be competition. It didn’t really feel like we were all competing against each other, it more so felt like we were all collectively doing something, and everyone was in it together,” says Nitya. Good luck to these talented finalists!