WEST ORANGE, NJ – West Orange sophomore Rachel Favetta was recently named the winner of the eighth annual Poetry Out Loud competition at West Orange High School (WOHS), and freshman Shanelle Chambliss was named first runner-up.

Favetta's performances of "The Albatross" by Kate Bass and "And If I Did, What Then?" by George Gascoigne resonated with judges and audience alike.

The following 11 students were selected as finalists from a field of 67: 

Sign Up for E-News


Shanelle Chambliss

Nooha Kawsar

Kai McCall

Noemi Pare

Olivia Ridley 



Rachel Favetta

Ashlea Hume 



Orianna Carter 



Anna Favetta

Juaquin Goodbar

Katie Myerson


Each student was required to memorize two poems from an approved list. One poem was required to be 25 lines or fewer and the other written by a pre-20th century poet.

Scoring was based on accuracy of memorization, physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding and overall performance.

After two rounds, Favetta was named the winner and she will represent WOHS at the Poetry Out Loud Regional competition to be held at South Orange Performing Arts Center on Feb. 7.

This year’s judges included ELA Supervisor Liz Veneziano, Liberty Middle School Assistant Principal Michelle Martino, Technology Integration Specialist Tynia Thomassie, former World Languages and Horizons Supervisor Karen Perry, and 2015 winner Amber McCleese.

The event was presented by Escriptus, the English Honor Society at the West Orange High School. Advisors were Molly Wachtel and Mindy Horvat.

Poetry Out Loud was created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation and is administered in partnership with the State Arts Agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

See all the photos from the Poetry Out Loud competition here.

To view the program, including the poems recited by the students, go here.