Galway’s Very Own Compete at the Regional Poetry Outloud!

Natalie Zembsch, Staff Writer

Hannah Thompson and Jon Fajans performed at tonight’s Regional Poetry Outloud competition, each memorizing and reciting two poems for a speckling of audience members and other contestants. There were fourteen student performers in all, representing Bethlehem, Saratoga, Niskayuna, Shaker, Clayton A Bouton, Schenectady, Shen, and Galway High Schools. Everyone had three poems on hand, ready to recite with emotion and capture the audience. Only the top five performers go on to recite their third piece, which serves as the final deciding factor in the two to move on to the Statewide Competition. Unfortunately, neither Hannah nor Jon were selected to compete in this final round. The overall winner was Padraig Bond from Saratoga, who also won first last year, and our region’s runner-up was Aja Samuel, from Schenectady High School. These two will be reciting at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC on March 8th, and we wish them the best of luck.

Although Hannah and Jon didn’t make it as far as expected (especially considering their exceptional recitations), they each did very well on an individual scale. Each poem they chose sent chills down my spine in the meaning and way they decided to convey the tone. Hannah even started shouting at the climax of her second piece, “Ode for the American Dead in Asia” by Thomas McGrath. She also recited “When I have Fears that I May Cease To Be” by John Keats. Jon began the entire ceremony with “Today” by Billy Collins, and started the second round with the powerful piece “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. Their fan club who came to cheer them on recognized improvement compared to last year in the judging categories: accuracy, articulation, dramatic appropriateness, understanding, physical presence, and overall performance. That’s a lot to focus on when you’re also reciting in front of a crowd! Galway High School should be proud of Hannah and Jon for their performance in this Poetry Competition. Since they’re both seniors, we’ll be looking for and needing some new performers to attend next year’s competition! Thank you and congratulations to Hannah and Jon for their wonderful recitations!