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Kitsap student makes it to the state Poetry Out Loud finals

Anna Flood poses with dance and poetry awards she’s won. - Leslie Kelly
Anna Flood poses with dance and poetry awards she’s won.
— image credit: Leslie Kelly

When Anna Flood was in the seventh grade, her English teacher suggested that she should try reading and performing poetry.

"She told me she thought it was right up my alley," said Flood, who is currently a junior at Crosspoint Academy in Silverdale. "So I decided I'd try it."

Five years and a lot of work later, Flood was the only student from Kitsap County to qualify for the Poetry Out Loud state tournament held recently in Tacoma. Although she didn't qualify to go to the national tournament, Flood said the experience was great preparation for next year, when, as a senior, she's aiming at winning the state tournament.

"The girl that won actually deserved it," said Flood. "I think having done this once, I'll be better prepared next year. I'll know the routine and I'll be ready."

Her performance of three poems, "Empty Dance Shoes," "A Locked House," and Emily Dickinson's "I Felt a Funeral in my Brain," was flawless, according to written comments by the judges. But she thinks she may have stumbled on a word or two somewhere.

"At that level, you have to be perfect," she said.

The day was a great one, she said, because she got to know the other competitors.

"They were all so nice and supportive," she said. "Between competitions, we played games and talked and got to know each other. They were all so good, too. Any one of them could have gone to nationals and represented the state well."

Flood is already looking at poems for next year's competition. She plans to work with her theater teacher throughout the summer months and into the fall.

Students at Crosspoint perform poetry in their English classes and the top two from each grade level go on to school competition, then a regional competition and then the state. It all takes place from November to March each school year.

As for her, she looks for poems that have emotions she can relate to. It takes her about two to three days to memorize a poem and once she has it down, she speaks it from one to five times a day.

"I perform in front of the mirror," she said. "That way I can see my facial expressions and my hand gestures. Everything has to match."Students are judged on their performance and their accuracy.

Performing, however, isn't anything new to her. Since she was about 2 years old, Flood has been dancing. She started with tap, then ballet, then jazz, lyrical and modern dancing. She is a student of the Dance Gallery in Port Orchard and is in a competitive hip-hop dance group that will be competing at a national event in New Orleans in June.

And Flood also is in theater through her school. As a part of its theater company, she's currently in the play, "Cotton Patch Gospel." She choreographed the dancing in the play which is a modern version of the gospel in a southern, county-type music, she said.

And, on top of all of that, Anna also is vice president of the Associated Student Body student government group at her school. She's already mounting her campaign to run for president and hopes to serve in that capacity during her senior year.

All of this, she said, has prepared her well for her future. Although she's just now studying to take her SATs, she plans to apply to several colleges and hopes to go to Gonzaga University. She wants to major in theater and then go to law school, like her mother did.

Her mother, Tracy Flood, is a lawyer with the  U.S.Department of Labor.

"My mom is my role model," she said. "Seeing all that she does inspires me. Most of our lives she's been a single mother and just the fact that she and I haven't always had it easy, and that our family is not the average or typical American family, that makes me want to do what I have to do, to have a good life. It's made me see that I need to use the things that I've learned to have the best life I can have."

Attending Crosspoint has been a great benefit, she added.

"We are a family here," she said. "When I walk down the hallways, I know just about everyone and can call them by name. All the teachers and the staff are so supportive and they care so much about our success. I just appreciate all of my relationships so much."

 

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