Poetry Out Loud finals to be held at West Orange High School Jan. 4

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The spoken word will be highlighted at the 11th annual Poetry Out Loud finals at West Orange High School on Wednesday, Jan. 4, beginning at 7 p.m. in the auditorium located on the Pleasant Valley Way side of the campus at 51 Conforti Ave.

The vision of Poetry Out Loud is described as “a contest that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.”

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with U.S. state arts agencies to support Poetry Out Loud, which is organized into local, regional, state and national competitions.

The winner of the Jan. 4 Poetry Out Loud finals will move on to regional competition. Several hundred students at West Orange High School participated in the selection process. Escriptus, the English Honor Society at WOHS, is presenting, organizing and running the event.

Students will each recite two poems, the first a required poem and the second a poem selected from an approved list. Following the second round, a winner and runner-up will be named.

This year’s finalists are ninth-graders Rachel Favetta, Darlene Folas, Ashlea Hume and Izzy Soto Jr.; 10th-graders Orianna Carter and Daniella Rodriguez; 11th-graders Anna Favetta and Juaquin Goodbar; and 12th-graders Sophia Adelson, Elijah Chilton, Janiya Peters and Bianca Trinidad.

The 2017 team of judges are William Paterson University English professor David Borkowski,  K-5 English language arts supervisor Michelle Martino, 6-12 ELA supervisor Elizabeth Veneziano, former Escriptus adviser and technology integration specialist Tynia Thomassie, and 2015 WOHS Poetry Out Loud winner Amber McCleese.

For more information, contact Escriptus adviser Molly Wachtel at mwachtel@westorangeschools.org or visit the Poetry Out Loud website at www.poetryoutloud.org/.