A guest post by 12th grader Elizabeth
“Finally!” I thought, as Lani finished her poem. I didn’t even need my teacher to call out my name. I knew I was next since, well, I was the only one left. I guess that’s the way my luck works out. At my last Poetry Out Loud recitation ever, I would be the last to speak.
Poetry Out Loud is an annual event at Meridian where every student is required to memorize and recite a poem for the entire community. Though there’s often a grumble when the Humanities teachers announce it in early January, it’s really gratifying to watch yourself progress. The first recitation, you might just look at the ceiling and hope no one notices the peculiar angle of your head. But during the last one, you gaze confidently out at the crowd. Everyone's victories look a little different at Poetry Out Loud, and that’s okay. We’re all learning to improve our public speaking skills and get some poetry in our bones along the way.
In a way, the responsibility of going last was a perfect ending to my Poetry Out Loud career. My first year, I remember barely looking at the crowd and just throwing out my words as fast as possible so I could scurry off stage. But during this final recitation, I looked around at the crowd, and I felt the words come out not as a jumble of alphabet soup where consonants held on to each other for dear life, but as a steady and confident stream. I left the stage feeling proud at how far I had come.