Blazers poet competes in Sacramento
The power of poetry presents beauty and inspiration through the words. At Lindhurst High School, six students have immersed themselves in the world of poetry with the help of English teacher Mr. Zysk and entered the Poetry Out Loud competition at the Yuba City Arts Center. One LHS student, Ocil Herrejón, however, has risen above and beyond and advanced to the state-level competition, which was held Monday in Sacramento.
Mr. Zysk was introduced to Poetry Out Loud by fellow English teacher Spencer Ansorge, who learned about it from Jonathan Kinsmen of Yuba Gardens Intermediate School, who has had experience with the competition.
By the second quarter of the school year, Mr. Zysk was convinced to look into Poetry Out Loud. After watching the DVD from the registration materials and being moved by the beauty of the poems written by the national finalists, Mr. Zysk decided to see what his students could do.
He gave them an ultimatum for their poetry final: Write 125 lines of poetry or memorize 25 lines from the contest. And, as a result, six of Mr. Zysk's students entered the local Poetry Out Loud contest at the Yuba City Arts Center.
It was only for fun and the love of poetry. Everyone who entered did well — but little did Mr. Zysk and Ocil know that she would advance to the state finals in her very first year of competing. Since Ocil's victory at the local level, both could be found hard at work every day after school to prepare her for the state meet.
Just to read a poem is not enough in this competition; you have to live it and understand it, let the emotions flow through you and into the crowd. You have to step into another person's shoes and tell their story and share their life.
Ocil's strong love of poetry and hard work encouraged her and her teacher. "I love it. I feel like it's a good way to express myself without having any rules to follow. A lot of people can communicate with you through poetry," she said.
Her passion for poetry is sure to help her go far in the state competition. Though she is going it alone, Ocil keeps her friends close at heart. "I don't do this just for myself. When I recite, I am not alone. Everyone is right there with me," she said.
Many of her teachers, friends and family are standing behind Ocil and wish her luck. Good luck, Ocil — do your best and give them your best read!