On January 14th, students gathered after school in The Brother Ralph Clifford O.S.F. Memorial Auditorium to watch their classmates on stage. No, they weren’t a part of the school play, and no, they weren’t auditioning for the talent show. These thirteen students were reciting some of the most well-known poems as a part of Prep’s “Poetry Out Loud” competition.
Students Aishyvarya Arora ‘13, Karina Baculima ‘11, Daniel Bloncourt ‘10, Francesco Ciuffo ‘13, Salvatore Cocchiaro ‘13, Jennielyn Damiano ‘11, Billy Holevas ‘11, Chirag Jethanandani ‘11, Natalie Louis-Charles ‘12, Jasmine Penny ‘11, Jamie Reinah ‘13, Samantha Viscovich ‘11, and Paige Stewart ‘10 all bravely and gracefully stood before their peers and a panel of judges to recite two poems of choice from the Poetry Out Loud official webpage.
Serving as accuracy judge and prompter, I can tell you that my job was very easy- everyone was well prepared and needed little to no assistance remembering the lines. The ones who had it hard were the judges- Mr. Hafker, Mr. Paccione, and Ms. Lynch. Eventually, though, they reached a decision. The finalists chosen were Paige Stewart, who passionately recited “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou and “I, Too” by Langston Hughes, Jasmine Penny, who elegantly recited “Theme from English B” and “I, Too” by Langston Hughes, and Daniel Bloncourt, who never ceases to entertain, reciting the darker “Richard Cory” by Edward Arlington Robinson and “Playing Dead” by Andrew Hudgins. Another contestant, and one of my personal favorites, Jennielyn Damiano, received runner-up with her wispy and eloquent recitation of “I am Learning to Abandon the World” by Linda Pastan and “Dirge Without Music” by Edna St. Vincent Millay.
“Poetry Out Loud” is a national recitation contest sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation, and the winners from Prep will go on to compete in Staten Island for New York City Regional level. Winners from there will then move on to compete at the state level, and if they win will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, to compete in the National Finals. We wish our finalists the best of luck!
Photos by Mr. Michael Graziano