Syunik English-Language School Students compete in National Contest supported by Peace Corps Volunteers

English-language students from schools all over Syunik marz will compete in March to win places in the national finals of the National Poetry Recitation Contest ( Students from Forms 7-12 are already practicing hard, learning poems in English supported by their English teachers, and U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers in small villages and larger cities. The Goris contest will take place at the Vagharsh Vagharshyan Drama Theater in Goris on Saturday March 10, 2018. Students in Kapan will compete at the Cultural Center on Saturday March 17, 2018 and students in Sisian will compete at the Sisian Culture House on Saturday March 31. 50-70 students are expected to compete in each city, with 6 winners from each contest advancing to the national finals to be held at the American University of Armenia on Saturday May 5, 2018.

“The National Poetry Recitation Contest is now in its 8th year” says U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Liz Barron, who works with Goris-based Partnership and Teaching NGO who now administer the contest nationwide. “It was launched back in 2010 by a Peace Corps Volunteer in Hrazdan who wanted to share her love of poetry with her students. Taking part in the contest allows students and teachers to have interesting discussions about all aspects of the human condition, discovering beautiful words and thinking on topics including religious freedom, growing up, and developing self-esteem.”

“The contest helps students with their spoken English, critical thinking and confidence in public speaking” continues Barron who is a Community Youth Development Volunteer. “It’s so cool to hear our brightest and best reciting—and interpreting—the words of some of the world’s finest poets. Our selection this year includes Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, American poets Langston Hughes, and Sylvia Plath and some less well-known, emerging poets writing on the theme “What Makes Us Human”.

Anahit Badalyan from Kapan is studying Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” (Karissa will try to send a quote from Anahit tomorrow)

“Preparing for this contest has been a really enjoyable process,” says U.S. Peace Corps TEFL Volunteer Allen Chung, who is working with English teacher Mrs. Gohar Ghazaryan at Uyts Secondary School near Sisian. “Our students are not only working hard but having fun learning as well. Together, we are introducing them to new ideas and new public speaking techniques that will help them become better communicators and leaders.”

Peace Corps Volunteer Laura Vazquez Arreguin will be entering students in the Sisian contest again this year “It is great to see how the contest has grown” she says “Our school has been part of the contest for the last 3 years, and every year the contest gets tougher”. Laura has accompanied winners all the way to the national finals and hopes her students will do well again this year.

Cronimet Charity Foundation is the exclusive sponsor of the 3 Syunik regional contests. American University of Armenia is the national sponsor of the National Poetry Recitation Contest. To learn more about the contest, select poems or register students to compete go to before March 2, 2018.