Competition Guidelines

Competitors must register by February 18. An adult adviser—teacher or staff member—must be listed for contact information.


  • Each team can have up to seven performers.
  • Schools can register as many teams as they choose.
  • Team members may compete in as many rounds as necessary.
  • Any number of members may recite during any portion of a round for a team delivery.
  • A member does not have to compete in the final to be considered an event participant.
  • Participants cannot be changed or added between the preliminary rounds and final. 
  • Each team must have an adult advisor. 


  • Individuals who do not have the benefit of a team can still register.
  • Competition includes two original poems and two classics; all other competition and judging rules apply.
  • Winners will be featured on the main event stage.  


Teams will be responsible for four performance rounds. One performance round consists of two performed poems:

  1. A classic poem chosen from the OC RYSE Poem Bank.  
  2. A student-written response poem that integrates elements of the first. These elements may reflect the classic poem in any way the student chooses: structure, imagery, word choice, content, and situation to name a few.


Students will be judged on the following in their performance of the classic poem: accuracy, difficulty, physical presence (including articulation and movement), audience engagement, and overall artistic display.

Students will be judged on the following in their recitation of the response poem: poetic craft (elements such as imagery, word choice, and rhythm), dramatic presence, (including articulation and movement), time (no more than 3 minutes), audience engagement, & overall artistic display.

In the crafting of their response poems, students must adhere to the following guidelines. Teams that violate the guidelines may be disqualified without a refund at any time:

  • 3 minute maximum for response poem. Students will lose points for extra time needed for their response poems. Time is not a factor for judging of the classic poem.
  • No singing or non-poetic vocalizations
  • No props. (The poet is the only prop)
  • No overly vulgar or offensive language or content. OC RYSE occurs at a public school and is intended for a broad audience. Language choices that are considered inappropriate should not be included in your response poems, and inclusion may be grounds for disqualification. Common sense should dictate what is appropriate; when this is unclear, the faculty advisor is responsible for providing guidance or contacting the event organizers. A blanket rule does not exist, but with instances of mature language and topics (such as abuse, addiction, poverty) poets are simply asked to write & perform with mindfulness.


  • First Place: $700
  • Second Place: $500
  • Third Place: $250
  • Fourth Place: Registration reimbursement
  • The top three individual performers will receive $100 each. 
  • Faculty Advisor Award: $250 will be awarded to the faculty advisor of the winning team to implement poetry curriculum at her/his school.

*Please note: Classic Poems will be judged on the version provided in the OC RYSE poem bank. Translations especially may have multiple versions available. If you believe there is a typo or other mistake on a poem, please contact the event organizer, Josh Wood, right away.

Team Registration

Registration is $15 per competitor. This amount includes lunch, an event T-shirt, and performances mask. The amount also covers award costs.  

A registering team must have a faculty advisor complete this information. If your team is interested in participating but having trouble putting together the registration fee, please contact Josh Wood about Team Sponsorship options at

To register for OC RYSE, please create a My School Bucks account and add Orange County School of the Arts as your district. If you already have an account with My School Bucks, please add Orange County School of the Arts as a second district to access the OC RYSE registration page. 


Contact Josh Wood at or 714.560.0900 ext. 6985.