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John Jay HS Juniors Win 'Poetry Out Loud' Competition

John Jay High School junior Jessica Moss, right, won the school’s Poetry Out Loud contest. Isaiah Blum, left, was the runner-up.
John Jay High School junior Jessica Moss, right, won the school’s Poetry Out Loud contest. Isaiah Blum, left, was the runner-up. Photo Credit: Katonah-Lewisboro School District

CROSS RIVER, N.Y. -- Twenty-eight John Jay High School students from every grade level participated recently in the school's annual Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation contest.

Eleventh-grade student Jessica Moss, who recited Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s “Let the Light Enter,” was named the winner of the schoolwide competition. Coming in as runner-up was fellow junior Isaiah Blum, who recited John Berryman’s “Dream Song 14” for the judges.

Moss will advance to the regional competition. Additional stages of the competition occur at the state and national levels.

“In the fall, many John Jay English teachers introduced poetry recitation in their classrooms,” said Jeanetta Bryant, co-adviser for the event. “They held classroom competitions, and the winners advanced to the school competition.”

To prepare for the Dec. 21 competition, students selected a work from an anthology of more than 800 classic and contemporary poems. The competition -- presented in partnership with the Teachers and Writers Collaborative, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation -- is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.

In the 2014-15 school year, Poetry Out Loud celebrated its 10th anniversary, reaching nearly 2.5 million students at more than 7,300 schools nationwide in the past decade.

At John Jay High School, five teachers and administrators served as judges for the school’s 2015-16 competition.

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