MSA seniors win top state poetry award, chosen for video illustration

Published 10:00 am Saturday, March 27, 2021

Mississippi School of the Arts Literary Arts senior Morgan Love has secured the top spot in Mississippi’s Poetry Out Loud 2021 state competition.

This marks the second year in a row that Love, of Jackson, has received first place. She will represent Mississippi at the National Poetry Out Loud Competition.

Recitations for the regional level were held via Zoom. Adjudicators then reviewed the recorded session, grading facial expressions, mouth movement and dictation of each piece.

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Winners from the regional level throughout Mississippi then met in Jackson at Mississippi Public Broadcasting for the state competition, where more recitations were performed and recorded. Contestants were notified days later through a virtual announcement and awards ceremony.

Poetry Out Loud is a free program created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation for students in grades 9-12. Since 2005, it has helped students in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and improve their reading comprehension scores while learning about their literary heritage.

Through the Poetry Out Loud curriculum, teachers guide students to a deeper, richer understanding of the power of language and literature by helping them develop a personal relationship with great poems. An added benefit is that Poetry Out Loud offers all students the opportunity to compete for awards, prizes and recognition.

MSA senior picked as video illustrator

MaryRhea Waterloo, a visual arts senior at the Mississippi School of the Arts, was chosen as one of 54 art illustrators from around the world to help bring the visual elements to life in a video storybook adaptation of Romeo and Juliet at Allbright College in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Waterloo auditioned for the opportunity with her portfolio and was selected to complete two pages of the book, working with an existing script and layout, but executed in her own illustration style.

“I’ve been so honored to be part of this, especially to illustrate in my style and as I saw it,” Waterloo said. “It opened up my eyes to new possibilities of study and career choices.”

Romeo and Juliet centers adolescents and young adults in a world transformed by both plague and civil strife. In lieu of traditional live theater production, students at Albright College Theatre have been working to create a video storybook adaptation of the story as seen through the diverse perspectives of the greater community, narrated by Albright student actors.

Interested artists signed up online by answering a brief survey and uploading a sample of their 2D artwork in any medium. The goal of the signup survey was to match artist styles to content.

The four-part series will premiere April 15 through 18, nightly, at 7 p.m. on the school’s website.