Poetry Out Loud Comes to Helena

This year is the first year Capital High students have participated in the national poetry recitation contest called Poetry Out Loud. Poetry Out Loud is a competition in which students recite a poem that meets the length, age and poem standards for the competition. Recited poems must be included in the list of accepted poems that the poetry foundation has published. Students who are successful at these competitions have a chance of winning prize money and scholarships for their success. In the competition students recite their poems in front of a panel of judges who score them according to several criteria. Categories students are scored on include physical presence, voice and articulation, appropriateness of the dramatization, level of difficulty of the poem, evidence of understanding, and how accurately they recite the poem. Scores range on a scale of 1-6 with the lowest being very weak and the highest being outstanding. Their accuracy score can be any number less than 8. Their scores are then added up and taken out of 50 points. The scores are averaged, and the winners are decided. Usually there is more than one round of competition.
Students ranging from freshmen to juniors participated in the competition held here at Capital High School on February 15th. The winners of the competition include Elly Schmeltzer, Brian Fox and Maddie Sticht. Winners of this competition won gift certificates and a chance to advance to the regional tournament held in Butte, Montana, at which two of the winners from Capital High placed. Elly Schmeltzer took 1st at the big competition, and Maddie Sticht took 2nd. Brian Fox tied for 5th and will be an alternate for the state competition. Elly recited “Pomegranate in a Big Crowd” and must have recited it very well. Elly and Maddie will also advance to the state tournament held here in Helena at the Myrna Loy Center on March 24th. Coaching all of these students was our very own Mrs. Schadt, an English teacher from Capital High School. The winner from each state tournament around the country will advance to the national finals in Washington, D.C. Winners of the state competitions receive an all-expenses paid trip to the final tournament. The competition will be held at the Harman Center for the Arts in D.C. Be sure to support our Capital representatives at the next competition on March 24th.

Book Review on The Summer I Turned Pretty

Jenny Han’s novel The Summer I Turned Pretty tells the story of a girl named Isabel, also known as Belly, who has to help her mother understand her, it is also deals with how Isabel’s mother’s childhood friend’s sons overcome the difficult knowledge that is to come. This book is about family struggles, parties, and summer expectations.

Belly believes that she lives her life in summers. This means that whenever she is in school she is counting down to summer. Why does she look forward to summer? Mainly because her mother Laurel, her brother Steven, and she all go to a beach house and stay with family friends. The family friends that they stay with are Laurel’s best friend from high school, Susannah, and her sons Jeremiah and Conrad. Every summer it is just the mothers and the kids at the beach house in Cousins Beach.

For the past few summers Susannah has been fighting breast cancer, and she has been keeping this a secret all of this summer. She wanted her boys, Steven, and Belly to have the best summer they can and act like everything is fine. Conrad and Jeremiah’s father is also keeping a secret from the boys–he is getting a divorce from Susannah. Susannah is the one person that keeps everyone connected, so when she reveals that her cancer is back and that it is growing Belly feels horrendous. Why does Belly feel so bad?

Belly is off with a guy named Cam for most of the summer, not really spending any time at the beach house with everyone else. She was hoping that her crush on Cam would rid her of the feelings she has for Conrad, but this was not to be. One night Cam, Conrad, Jeremiah, and Belly are at a party where she and Cam nearly kiss and would have if it were not for the fact that Belly heard Conrad arguing with someone at the front of the house. She gets upset when she finds out that Conrad is drunk and trying to fight someone that could really hurt him. She got in between Conrad and the other guy, trying to calm Conrad down. Another reason Belly feels bad for not knowing is that Susannah is like her second mother, always there for her to talk to and willing to talk to Belly about “girlie” stuff like prom and boys.

This book is a terrific story of keeping family and friends together because no matter what happens in life, your friends and family will always be there for you, just like they are in Jenny Han’s novel.