The NH Poetry Out Loud program held its 11th State Championship last month in Representative’s Hall at the NH State House. This historic and impressive venue served as a worthy setting for 12 students from around the state to compete for the title of State Champion and the opportunity to compete at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals coming up on Tuesday, May 3rd in Washington, D.C.. For those unfamiliar with Poetry Out Loud, it is a national recitation contest which asks students to memorize and recite poetry before a panel of judges who score students on their delivery. The program encourages students’ public speaking, language, and literacy skills (in addition to an appreciation for poetry). This year in NH, over 40 public and private high schools and home school groups – totaling nearly 10,000 students! – participated in the program. In other words, nearly one in five NH high school students could recite a poem upon request. Impressive!
Since joining Opus in 2013, my work has focused on some of the more traditional nonprofit consulting projects – think, organizational assessments, capital campaigns, strategic planning, Board training – but for the last two years, in between that work, I’ve had the opportunity to serve as the NH Poetry Out Loud State Coordinator. This role has brought me side by side with the wonderful staff at the NH State Council on the Arts who really bring this program to life. It has also highlighted the enjoyment and value that lies in project management work. For me, it’s an opportunity to take some of the organizational and operational work off of the Arts Council staff’s already crowded plates between September and April. For the Arts Council, it is a chance to supplement their knowledge of poetry and the arts community with a set of skilled hands that increase the efficiency with which the program is delivered.
Many organizations, particularly smaller groups without the budget for full-time staff, find that hiring outside project management support allows for expertise and additional capacity when they need them, and cost savings when they don’t. If this sounds like you or you’re interested in learning more about how Opus can support for your organization please visit our website and contact us.
In the meantime, if you’d like to tune into the National Poetry Out Loud Finals you can stream the event live here. The contest will begin this Tuesday, May 3rd at 9am when our own NH State Champion, Danielle Corbette, will compete. Good luck!