Students all over Tulare County from kindergarten through eighth grade participated in the 35th annual Tulare County Office of Education Poetry and Prose on Stage event from Tuesday, March 19 to Friday, March 28, at the TCOE Administration building at 6200 S. Mooney Blvd. in Visalia.
Over 1,480 students attended the eight day event, and experienced reciting poetry in front of judges, coaches, teachers, students, and the public.
Porterville schools had 208 students attending the event, including 121 students from eleven Porterville Unified School District schools. Rockford School, Hope Elementary, and Alta Vista Elementary attended as well.
Students from Belleview Elementary recited a selection of humorous poetry by Kenn Nesbitt, individually and in small groups.
Experienced Sixth grader Ethan Burkhart read “My Teacher Calls Me Sweetie Cakes,” while fifth graders Abraham Gonzalez and Carter Smith recited the poem “My Sister’s Name is Seven.”
Also from fifth grade, Fernando Gonzalez and Trinity Ramirez read “Sick Day.” Another humorous poem, “I Taught My Cat to Clean My Room” was recited by sixth grade students Dalia Arevalo, Jimena Magania, and Rosario Roman.
Many students from Porterville schools have repeatedly attended the TCOE event, and Nancy Bellin, who has organized the literary event for 35 years, says the children are getting quite good at reciting poetry and reading prose and are always getting a little better.
“Seven students from Rockford school performed at the Poetry and Prose on Stage 2019 on Wednesday, March 20. It is a great opportunity for students to share a piece of literature expressively and creatively to an audience. The students are free to select their own poems or use ones their teachers select for them. I’m always impressed with the creativity, imagination, and personal interpretation the students exude when they perform on stage. Each student who performed took home Superior certificates. I’m so proud of our students and the hard work and dedication it takes for them to prepare for Poetry and Prose. It will be something they will always remember,” said Rockford teacher Lindsay Rose.
“I have had a great time doing it for the second year in a row,” said John J. Doyle fifth grader Devina Barajas. “It makes me happy to know that when I’m in front of the judges they can write down and say how they feel about my performance to make me better”
Brooke Torres, who teaches at Burton Elementary said, “I love that my students have the opportunity to participate in the county Poetry and Prose event. It gives them the opportunity to explore poetry from different authors and genres, as well as hone their skills of speaking in front of others. I am proud of all of our Bullpups who were chosen to perform this year.”
“We have 1480 students participating this year, and Porterville Schools are heavily invested in our oral interpretation event,” said Bellin. “It is not a competition…awards are given for ‘Good, Very Good, Excellent and Superior.’ All students receive individual certificates with the award level they have earned at our event. Students are judged on 10 areas: voice quality, articulation, pronunciation, posture and presence, meaningful gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, preparation, suitable selection, communication of meaning, and sincerity and poise.”
Bellin added the judges try to pick presentations where the students learn a little more each time. Judges give positive and instructional critiques, evaluating each performance and every student received a personalized achievement award certificate
“We are so proud of them. And I get so jazzed about this every year. The students are getting so good at their presentations. And all the judges are so invested in the children and their progress,” she said.
“All of our Los Robles students showed what confidence and determination look like at the Poetry and Prose Competition in Visalia,” said Shelby Curry, reading specialist, “Their hard work earned each of them a Superior rating from the judges.”