WEST ORANGE, NJ – The spoken word will again be highlighted at the Tenth Annual Poetry Out Loud finals on Jan. 6 at the West Orange High School, beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium. The winner will move on to the 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, three semi-finalists will be named and will perform a third poem. A winner will be named from the final group.

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The finalists are:

  • 9th Grade: Orianna Carter and Danielle Rodriguez
  • 10th Grade: Anna Favetta and Kefi Mutume
  • 11th Grade: Eli Chilton, Janiya Peters, Sophia Adelson, Abraham Dada and Bianca Trinidad
  • 12th Grade: Sachel Bise and Kyla Trinidad

Judges for the competition will include former West Orange High School teachers Karen Perry and Tynia Thomassie, Professor of English at William Paterson University and published author David Borkowski, as well as Amber McCleese, the 2015 winner.

Admission is $2.00 and $1.00 for students with an ID.

The Poetry Out Loud website describes the vision of the competition 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.