March 1, 2014

Initiative encourages youth to learn great poetry

PLATTSBURGH  — Sixteen millennials unplugged long enough to recite two poems during Wednesday’s Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest hosted at Clinton Community College.

St. Regis Fall Central School Junior Ryan Duquette was among the students competing in the North County Regional Competition, a face off between St. Regis and Lowville Academy.

“There was a competition for my class, and I got one of the top two grades in the class,” Duquette said. “And the top two went to this competition.”

In the first round, He recited “Self Help” by Michael Ryan.


The poem’s first stanza is:

“What kind of delusion are you under?

"The life he hid just knocked you flat.

"You see the lightning but not the thunder.”

“I typed in baseball because I’m an athlete, and it had the word baseball in it, and it was on the list of ‘My Favorite Poems’ (on contest’s website),” Duquette said.

During the second round, he recited “Silence” by Thomas Hood.


The St. Regis students were coached by Wendie Boucher, who teaches 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade English at the school.

“We received an email about the contest, and I talked to the other English teacher here about potentially doing it to involve the ninth- through 12-graders in the competition,” .she said. 

“We did a classroom competition first for each grade level. We had two students from each grade level." 

The plan had been to hold a school competition, but then they learned only two schools were competing in the regional contest.

"We ended up bringing those eight students that won the classroom contests.”


The St. Regis contestants were Brandon Votra, Shelby Ratcliffe, Anthony Barron, Connor Farmer, Skylar Ratcliffe, Savannah Martinez, Linda Moore, Kayla Jimenez and Duquette.

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