By Louis ROBERTSON and Clemence BRENEOL-GUILLERM
While all EA students from 6e to 2nde are required to participate in the Poetry By Heart Competition at the class-level by reciting a poem in front of his/her classmates and literature teacher, only a few move on to the inter-class competition. And from there, only the best in each class competes against the other classes at their same level in the Anglophone Section’s annual Inter-class Poetry By Heart (which was held this year on January 22 in the La Tour auditorium).
Students recited their poems in front of a jury of very serious AS teachers and the winners went on to participate in the inter-school competitions at Ecole Jeanine Manuel for the lycée and Ecole Massillon for the collège. This year, two lycée students moved on to compete against other Anglophone schools and programs in the Paris area, Victoire Hohn (2e2) and Anae Werner (3e4).
To better understand what Poetry By Heart is all about, we spoke to the two eldest La Tour competitors, Ariel Thuilleux (2EA) who participated in the inter-class competition, and the winner of the inter-class competition and who went on to compete at the inter-school level, Seconde student, Victoire Hohn (2EA).
Ariel and Victoire told us that winning this prize changed their vision of poetry. Originally, they thought that it was difficult and even boring to memorize poetry in such a way, but Poetry by Heart as a classroom activity helped to change their minds about what it means to recite a poem in front of an audience and to realize that poetry can be fun and even modern.
The Poetry By Heart Competition is not only a way to develop one’s ability to memorize and to recite but also an exciting challenge that allows students to explore a wide range of poetry from different time periods. It was a good opportunity to prepare for future competitions. It is also a great way to express oneself, to gain confidence in one’s self and to gain a very real sense of achievement. Both girls felt that participating in Poetry By Heart made “[their] hearts stronger and bigger.”