Kalispell, February 7 – Thirteen students attended Flathead Valley Community College for the regional Poetry Out Loud Competition to compete for a chance to go to state. Polson High School brought four students: juniors Davis Smith, Violet Anderson, Joseph McDonald, and Josie Salois. Of the 13 students, four would move on to the state competition with a fifth acting as alternate.
Out of the Polson students, Joseph McDonald took third, Josie Salois took fourth, and Violet Anderson was one of three alternates. In past years, there has only been one alternate, but this year there was a four-way tie for fourth place. “This has never happened in the past 12 years of competition,” according to competition director, Melinda Carhart. Initially, Violet Anderson and Josie Salois were tied for fourth, sharing the exact same average score. To settle the tie, the judges reconvened and found that one judge had given one more point to Josie Salois. Therefore, she was awarded fourth place at the competition. Violet Anderson was “a little upset” at the results, “under the normal rules I tied with her, but one person’s one point opinion stopped me from going to state.”
Another problem arose after the competition; the three Polson students that made it to state are also playing parts in the school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. One of the showtimes of the play is 7:00 P.M. March 2, the same day as the state poetry competition. Students were left with a choice, “Do I choose the play or do I choose the poetry competition?” said Josie Salois, “I eventually chose [Poetry Out Loud] because I know it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and there are always other plays.” Students Violet Anderson and Joseph McDonald decided to continue doing the play instead of participating at state.
The state competition will take place on March 2. Competitors will be required to recite a total of three poems. Additionally, the poems must meet the following requirements: one must be from before the twentieth century and the other must be fewer than 25 lines. Josie Salois will be reciting “I Have a Time Machine” by Brenda Shaughnessy, “And If I Did, What Then?” by George Gascoigne, and “Broken Promises” by David Kirby. “I am super nervous, but if I do well, I heard they give out scholarships. I’m so excited, wish me luck!”