Ceresa Morsaint wins top prize in local 2017-18 Poetry Out Loud Competition

Eight students competed in Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School’s third annual Poetry Out Loud competition for the chance to represent the school at the regional competition in Pittsburgh.

Ceresa Morsaint, literary arts freshman, won first place and will move on to compete Feb. 3 at the Regional Competition at the Pittsburgh Filmmakers Theater.

Karis Williams, literary arts junior, earned second place. Ian McKinzie, literary arts senior, and Adrianna Miksch, theatre junior, tied for third place.

Other competitors were Chloe Bailey, junior; Jake Shafran, sophomore; and Shae McKoen and Jayden Nelson, both ninth graders.

Participants in grades 9-12 convened Thursday, Dec. 14 in the school’s Black Box Theater.

Each student competed in two rounds, reciting one poem from memory per round.

Ceresa recited “Winter” by Marie Ponsot and “The Paradox” by Paul Laurence Dunbar.

Judging criteria was based on accuracy, physical presence, dramatic appropriateness, voice and articulation, evidence of understanding, and overall performance.

Melissa Potts, the Poetry Out Loud advisor, served as the master of ceremonies at the event. Potts, English teacher and department chairperson, introduced the contest to Lincoln Park in 2015.

The panel of judges were Desirea Hairiston, Tom Schaller, Edward Wesolowski, Gwyneth Serra, Dan LeRoy, and senior Greer LeRoy, who won the local, state and regional competition the first year Lincoln Park participated, and won last year’s local and regional competitions.

Poetry Out Loud, a National Recitation Competition created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation.

“This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life,” according to the Poetry Out Loud website.