MADISON, NJ – High School students Ellie Culin and Mitra Sharif displayed their dramatic talents at the Tuesday, Jan. 24, Board of Education meeting.

Both students are finalists for the upcoming competition at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown on Feb. 13. “We’re here to celebrate their achievement,” Interim Superintendent Richard Noonan said.

Culin, who is in first place, recited “I’m Authoring This Poem” by Jimmy Santiago Baca.  The poem included phrases such as “keep it like a warm coat,”  “there’s nothing else to give you,” and interspersed with “I love you.”

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Sharif, who placed second, recited “Bleeding Heart” by Carmen Gimenez Smith, with images of  a city in ruins and such phrases as,  “my heart bleeds for baby bear for not finding mama bear” and “my heart rises up in me.”

Both students said how much their English teachers had taught them and introduced them to poetry, as well as to “tedious essay writing.” Culin said she would ask herself about a poem, “how does it speak to me?” Sharif said a poem changes as you work with it, with different emphasis, pauses and crescendos.