Ellen Podhajsky placed fifth in the state's annual Poetry Out Loud contest March 16 at the State Historical Building in Des Moines.
In the two preliminary rounds she recited "Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden and "No Coward Soul is Mine" by Emily Bronte. Five finalists were then chosen, and then Ellen recited her third poem, "Meditation on a Grapefruit" by Craig Arnold.
First place went to Josie Everett, of Lamb Arts Regional Theatre in Sioux City, who will represent Iowa at the national contest in Washington, D.C. Eleven schools were represented at the state contest.
Pictured is Ellen Podhajsky, MHS Poetry Out Loud winner and state qualifier.
Poetry Out Loud began in November when Yvette Hermann, Iowa's Poetry Out Loud's coordinator and "teaching artist," held a half-day workshop for about 30 MHS students. Students then memorized two poems and 11 performed them at the MHS Poetry Out Loud contest Dec. 18. Ellen won that contest, which earned her a spot in the state competition.
MHS ELP teacher Susan Fritzell and Gary Zmolek, a retired ELP teacher and speech coach at South Tama, were Ellen's coaches.