Ky Collins Krueger reacts after being named one of the four Ripon students who will advance to the regional Poetry Out Loud competition Feb. 6 at Wrightstown High School. She performed “Bright Copper Kettles” by Vijay Seshadri, a poem from the Pulitzer Prize-winning “3 Sections."
Ky Collins Krueger reacts after being named one of the four Ripon students who will advance to the regional Poetry Out Loud competition Feb. 6 at Wrightstown High School. She performed “Bright Copper Kettles” by Vijay Seshadri, a poem from the Pulitzer Prize-winning “3 Sections."

“You have to really own the poem; you have to really make it yours.”

That’s how English teacher Paul Weigel prepped Ripon’s Poetry Out Loud competitors.

About 180 high school students partook in classroom poetry-performance competitions in December before their numbers were narrowed down to the 13 who competed last week Tuesday in the high school auditorium.

Four of them — Ky Collins Krueger, Cali Grant, Jasmine Hoppe and Cade Jahns — will compete Feb. 6 at Wrightstown High School for a chance at the state-level competition in March.

One teen selected as the state champion then will head to the nation’s capital, where $50,000 in prizes are given away at the national Poetry Out Loud event.

For the school’s competition, Weigel was impressed with the students’ performances of lines written by prestigious poets.

“The difference between the classroom competition and what they were doing here [in the auditorium] was not insignificant,” he said. “The kids who won stepped it up.”

Read the full story, including a list of all 13 competitors, in the Feb. 1, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.