TCOE Poetry & Prose sees record-breaking turnout

Tulare County Office of Education’s 38th annual Poetry & Prose On-Stage program garners largest student attendance to date

TULARE COUNTY – A record-breaking 1,500 students from over 100 schools in Tulare County are taking to the stage to recite the literary art of their choosing.

Hosted by the Tulare County Office of Education (TCOE), the seven-day event provides kindergarten through eighth grade students with an opportunity to take a creative spotlight. Through the annual event, students are performing poems or prose before an appreciative audience of teachers, judges and anyone interested in joining the fun.

“When students engage in public speaking, it builds their confidence,” TCOE superintendent of schools Tim Hire said. “Also, through poetry and prose, they are able to select or create their own piece to perform. We hope this builds their love for reading and their appreciation for different forms of writing.”

The event is free and open to the public, so family and friends are welcome and encouraged to attend. The performances are held at the TCOE administration building in Visalia at 6200 S Mooney Blvd. The first day of the program started March 14 and will continue until the 17th, and then pick back up again for March 21 until the 23rd. The times for the event per day vary and are listed down below.

According to TCOE’s communications director Rob Herman, TCOE’s event coordinators noticed an increased interest in the event from the county’s middle schoolers, who had the highest registration for participation this year. He said they have noticed an overall climb of participation in the event that is returning to and even exceeding its attendance pre-pandemic.

A potential reason for this increase, according to Herman, is Superintendent Hire’s advocacy for extracurricular activities. He said Hire has made it a goal for all students to participate in extracurricular activities every year, whether it be it a school district program, a TCOE program or a student event. This is a goal he has shared with all Tulare County school district superintendents.

“Research shows that students who are engaged in an extracurricular activity are more engaged and perform better in school,” Herman said.

At the event, students select poems or dramatic readings and perform them either individually, in small groups of three to five or in large groups of six to 10. Knowledgeable and experienced judges provide the kids with positive and instructional critiques and evaluate each student’s performance based on a variety of factors. These factors are students’ preparedness, gestures, expressions, articulation, sincerity and poise and communication skills.

For their participation in delivering their performances, all students receive a personalized achievement award certificate before leaving the event. These awards are ranked Good, Very Good, Excellent or Superior.

Poetry & Prose Schedule

March 14: 9:00 a.m., 10:15 a.m., and 11:30 a.m.
March 15: 9:00 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.
March 16: 9:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
March 17: 9:00 a.m., 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
March 21: 9:00 a.m., 10:15 a.m., and 11:30 a.m.
March 22: 9:00 a.m., 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
March 23: 9:00 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.

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