For the past two years a HNC student has competed and won the West Yorkshire Poetry by Heart Championship; Jennifer O’Sullivan in 2013/14 and Saliha Khadim in 2014/15. Both went on to London and Cambridge respectively to perform at the National Finals weekend against other County champions from across the country. Although both competitors made it to Semi-Finals, competition was stiff and their Poetry by Heart journeys ended there.
We're hoping that this year will be third time lucky for our competing student!
In order to compete in the competition, a knock-out heat must first be held at the College to decide which student would go forward to defend our current West Yorkshire Champion title. The students who took part had to pick two poems from the Poetry by Heart Anthology, memorise both as close to perfect as possible, and develop the confidence to recite both poems out loud and without prompts.
Four students participated in this year’s College heat. Kabir Hussain, who took part in the first PBH competition in 2013, Caitlan Gledhill and Isaac Barnett, both new to the competition this year, and returning to the contest, 2015 West Yorkshire Champion, Saliha Khadim. This year's judges were Angela Williams (Principal), Lorraine Globe & Jan Kikezos (English Deptartment), Susan Blackburn (HNC Students' Union) and Rebecca Wilson (College Librarian).
After each very enjoyable- and sometimes moving- performance, the judges had the difficult task of deciding on a winner. After much deliberation and comparing scores, it was agreed that Saliha Khadim will be awarded the HNC Champion title for a 2nd year running. Her performance was as good- if not better- than the previous year, with Caitlan coming in a very close second. Kabir was awarded 3rd place and Isaac received a Commendation. All four were presented with Poetry by Heart certificates and bookmarks, and the top three winners also came away with a poetry book each.
It is now up to Saliha to defend her status as West Yorkshire Champion. The next round will take place at Leeds Central Library at the end of January 2016. Will she win another chance at the National Finals? We are all keeping our fingers crossed!