Biography for California Poetry Out Loud 2008 Winner
High school senior Roshawnda Bettencourt of Roseville will represent the Golden State in D.C.
Roshawnda Bettencourt, a senior at Oakmont High School in Roseville (Placer County), has been actively involved in acting and theater since her sophomore year--and is on the "Comedy Sports Team," Oakmont's own improv comedy group connected to the school's theater department. She also plays basketball (team captain in 2007-08) and track and field (specializing in the high jump, long jump and triple jump.)
She got involved in Poetry Out Loud when her sophomore English teacher and her theater arts teacher (Judy Geduldig and Samantha Howard, respectively) encouraged her to explore applying her theatrical talents to poetry. She says that after the county finals she started working both her teachers and established mentors from California Poets in the Schools. "I got a much better understanding of the poetry after the county finals and with the coaching from everyone."
Roshawnda says that the Poetry Out Loud competition gave her the ability to stretch her theater chops in a different way. "I love being on stage in front of an audience and getting them to listen to you with the poetry. I really liked getting into people's minds and embodying somebody new and make an audience think."
She plans to continue with both theater and sports in the future, and has not yet decided what college to attend. "I want to make some kind of difference in people's lives, and be happy doing it," she said. "I just don't know what that will be yet."