La Cueva High School student Analisa Ibarra took first place in the New Mexico Poetry Out Loud contest held virtually last week. Students filmed themselves reciting their poems and then submitted them to judges, who scored them at different times throughout the week. Ibarra won with the highest cumulative score from the three poems she recited. Four contestants participated in this year’s competition.
Kevin Lenkner, New Mexico Poetry Out Loud coordinator, said he was pleased with the turnout even though there were more contestants in previous years. Lenkner suggested that COVID-19, the cyberattack on APS schools, and teacher shortages made it more difficult for students to participate in this year’s competition.
“I really commend the teachers for working with the students,” Lenkner said, adding that the students deserve their credit, but the teachers helped to make it all possible.
Ibarra was awarded $200, and another $500 from the Poetry Foundation will go to the La Cueva High School library for books and writing materials. This year’s national Poetry Out Loud competition will be held virtually instead of in Washington, D.C., as originally planned. Ibarra will compete in the semifinals, scheduled for May 1, and, if selected, will go on to the finals on June 5.
Teachers or students interested in participating in the Poetry Out Loud Program can contact Lenkner by phone at 505- 412-5791 or by email at Kevin.Lenkner@state.nm.us. To learn more about the national program, visit poetryoutloud.org.