“I missed a couple of words and I knew right away, but I really felt good about it,” Ashbaugh said. “It really felt good being up there and performing and since I enjoy it so much, I never beat myself up about it.”
Some of the mistakes Ashbaugh made dealt with accuracy, or using words that are different from the poem. RBHS Poetry Out Loud judges students based on three interpretive scores and one accuracy score. Although it may seem like a lot of judges, this is all to prepare students for competitions further down the road, RBHS Poetry Out Loud coordinator Kathryn Fishman-Weaver said.
“We try to make the judging at the school-wide competition as close as possible to the judging at the regional competition,” Fishman-Weaver said. “The interpretation judges have a rubric and they look for things like, interpretation of the poem, voice, quality of performance and level of difficulty the kids chose. The judges had a very difficult job. The performers were really good and they had tough decisions to make. It was really close in the end on a number of places.”
Secondary Gifted Education Coordinator Jake Giessman, accuracy judge, noted that although each performance had an average of five or so mistakes, he was impressed with the performance of the students.
“It was kind of interesting that some students who made a lot of mistakes, it didn’t sound like it. They were so smooth about it, “ Giessman said. “The hardest part [about judging] is if they slurred, and I couldn’t tell if they were hiding the fact that they forgot or not.”
Even though Ashbaugh made mistakes in her performance, she still has time to perfect her program before regionals, which will take place Feb. 1 to Feb. 8 in Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Chesterfield, Hannibal, Kansas City, Parkville, St. Charles, St. Joseph, St. Louis and Springfield. She plans to read her poems to as many people as she can and elicit helpful feedback.
“I know the poem well enough I don’t have to think about the poem,” Ashbaugh said. “I just have to think about my hand gestures, how I look, keeping posture and acting out the poem and making people feel the way I feel.”
By Daphne Yu