Poetry Out Loud competition at the Ulrich Museum of Art


Austin Farber

Wichita State students Manasvi Ganti, Finnegan Frock, and Ashton Conley stand with their awards during the Poetry Out Loud event on Saturday, Feb. 15. Conley received first place, Ganti placed second, and Frock received honorable mention.

The Ulrich Art Museum hosted the Poetry Out Loud Regionals for the National Recitation Contest on Saturday.

Poetry Out Loud has encouraged students since 2005 to learn, memorize, and recite poetry from worldwide published writers. The program has reached three million students nationwide and awards prize money for its top winners at the national competition in Washington D.C.

Three of the area’s top contestants battled on stage Saturday. Heights High senior Ashton Conley took first and advanced to the state contest in Salina on Feb. 29.

The competition began with performances by two eighth grade students, Jack Rundle and Arora Schmidt, reciting Shakespeare from memory.

The contestants for the regional competition were Conley, Finnegan Frock from Northfield High, and Manasvi Ganti from Wichita East High.

Four judges officiated the competition: Sam Taylor, Ellen Chrispin, Emily Christenson, and Steve Vaughn.

In the first round, Conley recited Wendell Berry’s “Enemies,” Frock recited Robert Burns’s “A Red, Red Rose,” and Ganti Recited Linda Pastan’s “The Obligation to Be Happy.”

In the second round, after a short break, Conley recited Cynthia Zarin’s “Flowers,” Frock recited Alex Dimitrov’s “1969,” and Ganti recited A.E. Housman’s “To an Athlete Dying Young.”

The competition was stiff, but after a tally from the judges, Conley was named the winner while Ganti took second place and Frock received honorable participation.

Conley will now have a chance to vie for the state title.