Trayshun Holmes-Gournaris of Monmouth, a senior at Oregon School for the Deaf, is the 2022 Oregon Poetry Out Loud State Champion. Holmes-Gournaris was one of 11 finalists who entered Friday’s Virtual Poetry Out Loud state competition. He qualifies for the national Poetry Out Loud competition, which will be held virtually on May 1 (semi-finals) and June 5 (finals).
Maria Daniels, a sophomore at St. Stephens Academy in Beaverton, was named a finalist. If Holmes-Gournaris is unable to compete nationally, Daniels would be asked to represent Oregon.
This is the second year that Holmes-Gournaris has taken part in the Poetry Out Loud State Contest. At Oregon School for the Deaf, he chaired student body government and played on the basketball and track teams. He loves all animals, music, dancing and the “clown”. In the future, he would like to pursue a career in a trade that requires working with his hands. After studying Maya Angelou’s “Caged Bird” for this contest, it became her favorite poem.
“I’m shocked and excited,” Holmes-Gournaris said moments after the results were announced. “I tried for years to win. I really like this field.
Poems submitted by Holmes-Gournaris to the state competition were “The Song of the Smoke” by W. E. B. Du Bois, “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou, and “Silence” by Thomas Hood.
“Trayshun brought originality and a solid balance to each of his poems, even something as well-known as Maya Angelou’s ‘Caged Bird,'” said Portland creative honoree Subashini Ganesan, who was a judge for the state competition. among his peers because he is a grounded competitor who allows his unique strengths to authentically permeate his presentations. themselves.”
The Arts Commission established accessibility guidelines for deaf students to participate in Poetry Out Loud in 2009, when the Oregon School for the Deaf began participating. These guidelines have now become a national standard. Holmes-Gournaris is the second state champion to be named from the school; OSFD alumnus Tiffany Hill was the 2009 Poetry Out Loud State Champion.
“It was such an honor to witness the dedication and creativity of the students and teachers who participated this year,” said Briana Linden, Arts Commission Poetry Out Loud Coordinator. “It’s commendable how they continue to be flexible as learning modalities change and yet shine with powerful and nuanced performances.”
“This was Trayshun’s second year on Poetry Out Loud and his performances this year blew us away,” Linden added. “It shows us that poetic performance has no boundaries and also serves as a powerful and important reminder that Deaf and disabled people are an integral part of our artistic communities. We are thrilled to support Trayshun as he heads to Nationals.
The other nine students who competed, after winning their school competitions, are: Clara Bennett, Crater High School, Central Point; Cecily Cooper, Crook County High School, Prineville; Juwon Kim, Lakeridge High School, Lake Oswego; Alyssia Menezes, Lincoln High School, Portland; Elena Morris, Oregon Charter Academy, Mill City; Ava Neudeck, West Linn High School, West Linn; Mariah Reynolds, Redmond High School, Redmond; Auria Vallloton, Oakland High School, Oakland; and Willa Wise, Grant High School, Portland.
The 2022 Poetry Out Loud competition was held virtually to ensure the safety and health of participating students and staff. The decision was based on advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the general counsel of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation competition for high school students, held in Oregon by the Oregon Arts Commission in conjunction with the NEA and the Poetry Foundation. Participants memorize and present poems, practice public speaking while exploring the complexity of poetry.
Source: Poetry Aloud Contest