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John Jay Students Shine In Poetry Recitation Contest

Judges carefully listed to John Jay High School’s 25 finalists recite poems as part of the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest.
Judges carefully listed to John Jay High School’s 25 finalists recite poems as part of the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. Photo Credit: Contributed

CROSS RIVER, N.Y. -- John Jay High School students recently took to the stage to participate in the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest.

Many English classes introduced poetry recitation earlier in the year, holding classroom competitions, with 25 winners moving on to the Dec. 4 schoolwide event organized by English teachers Jeanetta Bryant and Chandler Lewis.

For the JJHS competition, each student selected a work to recite from an anthology of more than 800 classic and contemporary poems. Five judges listened to each student deliver their poems, evaluating the recitations in areas of voice and articulation, evidence of understanding, level of complexity and accuracy.

The national Poetry Out Loud competition, a partnership of the Teachers and Writers Collaborative, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is in its 10th year. School winners advance to a regional competition, with opportunities to continue on at the state and national levels.

During the past decade, nearly 2.5 million students at more than 7,300 schools have participated.

“(The contest) is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition,” Bryant said. "Following the John Jay High School contest, the top five performers were named by the judges: juniors Daniel Berger, Sean McCarthy, Gwen Freudenheim and Sarahann Rozsa, and sophomore Jenny Sokol."

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