Student Spotlight: Mitra Sharif

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Student Spotlight: Mitra Sharif

Mitra Sharif reciting her poem at the school wide Poetry Out Loud competition.

Mitra Sharif reciting her poem at the school wide Poetry Out Loud competition.

Madison Dodger TV

Mitra Sharif reciting her poem at the school wide Poetry Out Loud competition.

Madison Dodger TV

Madison Dodger TV

Mitra Sharif reciting her poem at the school wide Poetry Out Loud competition.

At one point or another, you’ve probably been asked to participate in the Poetry Out Loud contest by your English teacher. Whether you love it or dread it, it an intense competition that goes above just getting a good grade for your class. The Poetry Out Loud contest is a competition used to test a student’s prowess at recitation and public speaking. It allows students to “appreciate poetry,” as it says on the organization’s website, and “reaches students whom they never thought would take to Poetry/public speaking.” The winner of the contest, after moving on through a series of preliminaries, is awarded $50,000 in scholarships.

 

For the best, it requires long hours of preparation and good public speaking skills. This was the strategy for MHS’s Mitra Sharif, who was crowned the winner in MHS for the contest will be moving on to the regionals on February 13th at the Mayo Performing Arts Center. Mitra shared with MDO the tough commitment to the contest and how she feels about moving on.

 

When we asked Mitra about the work ethic she put towards the contest, it was clear that the amount of work put into the contest was unbelievable. “When I began to memorize each poem I would sit down in my basement on a Sunday for about 6 hours to drill in the lines.” We were astounded by the sheer number of hours and asked why it took so long. “Truth be told, I have difficulty memorizing things very easily,” she said. “The week before the school competition each night I would practice a few hours. I practiced 5 hours with my brother and mom taking turns spotting me. Earning 100% perfect accuracy score on stage is imperative for me.”

 

Almost anyone can memorize lines, but that’s only half the battle. There’s another element that makes or breaks a person in this competition: stage presence. Having the emotion and charisma required to win the contest is not easily obtained by casual contestants. “I was absolutely sick to my stomach,” Mitra said. “Before going up for the second round, I was having trouble even standing up and walking on to the stage. I wanted to absolutely nail it so badly and that was my last chance. As a competitor, you want to make sure the one time you perform it on stage is your best performance and reflects all your practice. I believe that all the adrenaline and emotions I felt on stage literally shaking, added to my performance greatly, which made it my best recitation I had ever given of the poem.” It’s no secret that public speaking is a devastating thought, but having the bravery to endure it in this contest like this is key to being crowned the winner.

 

MDO asked Mitra if, despite all the grueling practice, the competition was enjoyable. She said that overall she “enjoyed it very much” and “saw it rewarding to see other competitors grow.”

 

“I’m the most competitive girl in the world and I wanted to win so badly,” she said, highlighting Mitra’s determination towards the competition. With Mitra’s intense persistence, there’s no telling what other feats that can be accomplished.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Student Spotlight: Mitra Sharif”

  1. Jasmine Weber on January 23rd, 2017 10:36 pm

    Wow! Go Mitra! Her determination and will to succeed and to win is so inspirational. I dreaded poetry out loud, and I feel that I’m an overall well public speaker but I don’t think I could even have the courage to compete in this competition. I’m shocked by all the hours she put into learning each line and word of the poem. Good Luck Mitra!

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