Teen voices sizzle at annual poetry contest

Feb. 19, 2011

Brilliant words, spanning centuries as well as emotional range, flew into the charged atmosphere of the sixth annual HRVHS "Poetry Out Loud" competition, held at the Columbia Center for the Arts Feb. 16.

Forty teens, having won their English classroom competitions, took their place within the contest, bringing to life both classic and contemporary poetry in the adjudicated, spoken word event.

"So many kids participate - over 300 memorized a poem for their classroom," said Regena Rafelson, event co-organizer and HRVHS English teacher, "and, so many are doing their first public risk-taking."

The competition was tough. Strong performances came from both veteran and neophyte contenders alike. But in the final round, a tie-busting duel was required to determine the first- and second-place winners.

Sophomores Jack Patterson and Duncan Krummel selected one of their two previously presented poems in a head-to-head battle.

Krummel chose "Fishing the Susquehanna in July," by beloved living poet Billy Collins. Peterson selected "I am the People, the Mob," by well-renowned activist poet Carl Sandburg.

Virtually equal strong deliveries by both young men forced the five judge panel to sweat the details in awarding the title. By a hairsbreadth, Patterson pulled out the first-place title for 2011. Krummel took second.

Sharing the winner's circle were Monica Marquez in third, Johnathan Navarro with fourth and Murphy Jackson in fifth.

According to Rafelson, "Every high school in the state is invited to apply to participate in the state contest. Each school sends one winner to state." Patterson will be HRV's representative.

The event, which is co-coordinated by English teacher Gabe Judah, is supported by other community adults.

Adjudication was conducted this year by Keith Harding, Anne Lerch, Jerry Bryan, Althea Hukari, Mary Jane Heppe and, returning two-time contest winner and Reed College student Patrick Sadil.

Scoring was conducted by Hector Ortiz and student Carlos Trejo volunteered as "runner" for the event. The Columbia Center for the Arts and facilities manager Jane Duncombe provided the venue. Dog River Coffee's Nate DeVol treated the contestants to free hot cocoa and Michelle Ochsner, of Pietro's Pizza, provided lunch for the judges and competitors.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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