Congratulations to Returning Poetry Out Loud Champion, Courtney Stewart!
2014 (and 2013) Poetry Out Loud Massachusetts Champion Courtney
Stewart from Springfield Central High School, photo: Paul Marotta
This past weekend, the 2014 Poetry Out Loud Massachusetts State Finals were held at the Old South Church in Boston. After nine grueling hours full of blood, sweet, and assonance, Courtney Stewart emerged victorious from the fiery linguistic pits to reclaim his title as State Champion. A sophomore at Springfield Central High School, Courtney also won the Massachusetts Championship in 2013. 2012 winner Stephanie Igharosa of Randolph High School was named first runner-up. The top six finalists were rounded out with second runner-up Darlande Joseney from Avon Middle High School along Sabrina Accime from Meridian Academy in Brookline, Tara Brownson from Dracut Senior High School, and Fitzgerald Eloi from Malden High School.
Courtney will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC where he will compete in the Poetry Out Loud National Finals in the end of April. Here's his winning performance of "Possible Answers to Prayer" by Scott Cairns:
The Huntington has facilitated the local arm of the national Poetry Out Loud competition with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for nine years, since the program began. This year, over 365,000 students from 2,200 schools all across the country competed in Poetry Out Loud, with the support of more than 8,800 teacher committed to the teaching and recitation of poetry in their classrooms. Massachusetts was ranked third for total student participation in the entire country, fourth for school participation, and third again for teacher participation. This means that we need to eliminate California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Georgia from the Union in order to rank number 1 in every category next year This makes Massachusetts the only New England state to make the top five in each of these rankings. Not a bad showing, if we do say so ourselves!
Congratulations to every student that participated by fully immersing themselves in enjambment, rhyme, anapest, and every thing else that makes our language sing -- and best of luck to Courtney on his trip to DC!