Po­etic prodigy

Al­covy se­nior com­petes to­day in Ge­or­gia recita­tion con­test

The Covington News - - Front Page - Jenny Thompson

Brit­ta­nee Rolle knows how to speak.

Rolle, a se­nior at Al­covy High School, re­cently won a dis­trict com­pe­ti­tion in the Po­etry Out Loud Recita­tion Con­test spon­sored by the Na­tional En­dow­ment for the Arts and the Po­etry Foun­da­tion.

To­day she com­petes in At­lanta in the state com­pe­ti­tion against stu­dents from 41 other Ge­or­gia high schools.

While far from shy now, Rolle said she was not al­ways as out­go­ing as she is to­day. In­volved in theatre at Al­covy, she said be­ing on stage is a rush.

“I feel so pow­er­ful up there,” Rolle said.

Rolle’s English teacher Re­nee Sk­aggs men­tioned the dis­trict com­pe­ti­tion in class ev­ery­day try­ing to en­cour­age stu­dents to par­tic­i­pate in the school com­pe­ti­tion.

She said she didn’t plan to com­pete un­til watch­ing the film “Akee­lah and the Bee,” which is about a trou­bled girl who wins the Scripps Howard Na­tional Spell­ing Bee.

Al­though ner­vous be­fore tak­ing the stage, she said her nerves helped her bet­ter por­tray the emo­tion of the words she was speak­ing. She said recita­tion is act­ing, which she loves to do, but more dif­fi­cult than play­ing a char­ac­ter in a play be­cause po­ems do not in­clude stage di­rec­tions or emo­tional cues.

She re­cited Maya An­gelou’s “ Still I Rise” and Edgar Al­bert Guest’s “ It Couldn’t be Done.”

Rolle said she chose the po­ems be­cause she felt she per­son­ally un­der­stood the po­ets’ in­tent in writ­ing them.

“ I al­most cried when I did it for the school — I don’t know why,” Rolle said. “ Tears were just com­ing to my eyes and I was try­ing to hold it back be­cause it was go­ing to sound re­ally bad if I was cry­ing all through it.”

Rolle felt sure she wouldn’t ad­vance to the dis­trict com­pe­ti­tion, but the four judg- es at Al­covy chose her. She felt the same way at dis­trict com­pe­ti­tion be­fore she was an­nounced the win­ner.

She said she hopes the state com­pe­ti­tion is as in­ti­mate a set­ting as Al­covy and the dis­trict com­pe­ti­tion.

“ I like to look at peo­ple and see their re­ac­tions be­cause I feed off of that,” Rolle said.

If she wins the state com­pe­ti­tion Rolle will re­ceive $ 300 and an all- ex­pense paid trip to Wash­ing­ton D. C. to com­pete in the na­tional con­test.

State win­ners’ schools re­ceive a $ 500 stipend for the pur­chase of po­etry books.

The na­tional cham­pion will re­ceive a $ 20,000 col­lege schol­ar­ship.

Rolle said she would like

to study theatre in col­lege.

“ I want to go some­where in Florida or maybe Val­dosta State be­cause it’s so close to Florida,” Rolle said.

Her ul­ti­mate goal is to open a per­form­ing arts school, prefer­ably in a more rural area.

“ There’s a lot of peo­ple who have so much tal­ent and who don’t have any­where to show it,” Rolle said.

She said for ev­ery per­son who dreams big, 10 peo­ple ex­ist to tell them they can’t ac­com­plish their dream.

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Win­ning recita­tion: af­ter­noon.

Brit­ta­nee Rolle re­cites the poem “Still I rise” by Maya An­gelou on the stage at Al­covy High School Wed­nes­day

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