24 Students To Compete Sunday in the MA State Finals of Poetry Out Loud

(BOSTON) — Twenty-four students from across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts advanced from this weekend's four regional semi-final competitions of the ninth annual Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest to compete in the State Final competition on Sunday, March 9 at the Old South Meeting House. The event begins at 9:30am, is free and open to the public, and will feature a performance by 2013 POL National Champion Langston Ward from the state of Washington, a current student at Harvard University.

The competing students are:


  • Sabrina Accime, Meridian Academy
  • Emma Adler, Monument Regional High School
  • Michelle Beaulieu, Masconomet Regional High School
  • Tara Brownson, Dracut Senior High School
  • Lily Bunyea, Barnstable High School
  • Naomi Cope, Ralph C. Mahar Regional High School
  • Erica Curtin, Norwell High School
  • Lilah Drafts-Johnson, Melrose High School
  • Fitzgerald Eloi, Malden High School
  • Angel Ezeh, Salem Academy Charter School
  • Eli Gold, Mt. Everett Regional High School
  • Lauren Hart, Dartmouth High School
  • Erin Hebert, Holyoke High School
  • Danielle Hill, Rockland High School
  • Stephanie Igharosa, Randolph High School (2012 MA State Champion)
  • Darbie Jean Baptiste, John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics & Science
  • Darlande Joseney, Avon Middle High School
  • Sam Meyers, Amherst Regional High School
  • Meredith Omer, Acton-Boxborough Regional High School
  • Olivia Paulo, Tyngsborough High School
  • Micayla Rivin, Needham High School
  • Ashti Shah, Advanced Math & Science Academy Charter School
  • Nicole Smith, Whitman-Hanson Regional High School
  • Courtney Stewart, Springfield Central High School (2013 MA State Champion)

The 24 finalists were selected from among more than 24,000 students that competed in recent months in classrooms and school-wide competitions. Seventy-our school winners competed March 1 and 2 at the regional semi-final competitions in Boston (sponsored by Brookline Bank), Framingham, Springfield, and on Cape Cod. A complete list of the 84 POL-participating high schools can be found at the bottom of the page,

The Huntington facilitates the Massachusetts competition with the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national recitation competition that celebrates the power of the spoken word and a mastery of public speaking skills while cultivating self-confidence and an appreciation of students' literary heritage as they take poetry from the page to the stage. Since its inception, Poetry Out Loud has inspired hundreds of thousands of high school studnts to discover and appreciate both classic and contemporary poetry.

The Massachusetts POL winner receives an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC this coming spring to compete in the national finals.

"The study of poetry may be especially improtant for kids growing up in the age of tweets," observes Alison Lobron of The Boston Globe. "Close reading, after all, is essentially an act of listening; to learn a poem well enough to speak it aloud with confidence requires careful attention to someone else's words, someone else's experience. it means tuning out the clamor of voices competing for your attention — including your own — until you've fully heard what another person is saying."


About Poetry Out Loud

Recitation and performance are major new trends in poetry. There has been a recent resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of hip-hop music. Poetry Out Loud builds on that momentum by inviting the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theatre into the English class. The NEA and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with state arts agencies to support the expansion of Poetry Out Loud, which encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. This exciting program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. The Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Huntington sponsor the Massachusetts contest; the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation sponsor the competition on the national level.

Learn more about Poetry Out at


About the Huntington Theatre Company

Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award and named Best of Boston 2013 by Boston magazine, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston's leading professional theatre and one of the region's premiere cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso and in residence at Boston University, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit


About the Massachusetts Cultural Council

The Massachusetts Cultural Council is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences, in order to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the economic vitality of our communities. The MCC is committed to building a central place for arts and culture in the everyday lives of communities across the Commonwealth. The Council pursues this mission through a combination of grants, services, and advocacy for cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists.


About Brookline Bank (Sponsor, Boston Semi-Final Competition)

Brookline Bank is a subsidiary of Brookline Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: BRKL) and is headquartered in Brookline, Massachusetts. A full-service financial institution, Brookline Bank provides individuals and businesses with deposit and lending services, residential mortgages and home equity lending, commercial and CRE banking, cash management, merchant services, and access to investment services. Brookline Bank operates 23 branches in Greater Boston. Member FDIC / Member DIF.


2014 Participating High Schools

Acton-Boxborough Regional High School
Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School
Agawam High School
Algonquin Regional High School
Amherst Regional High School
Avon Middle High School
Barnstable High School
Berkshire School
Beverly High School
Billerica Memorial High School
Bishop Feehan High School
Boston Adult Technical Academy
Boston College High School
Boston Latin School
British School of Boston
Bromfield School
Brookline High School
Burlington High School
Claremont Academy
Codman Academy Public Charter School
Dartmouth High School
Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School
Dexter School
Dracut Senior High School
East Boston High School
Elizabeth Seton Academy
Falmouth Acadmy
Falmouth High School
Framingham High School
Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School
Global Learning Charter Public School
Groton-Dunstable Regional High School
Hanover High School
Harwich High School
Haverhill High School
High School of Commerce
Hingham High School
Holyoke High School
John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science
Leominster High School
Lexington High School
Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School
Malden High School
Martha's Vineyard Regional High School
Masconomet Regional High School
Melrose High School
Meridian Academy
Milestones Day School
Minnechaug Regional High School
Monument Mountain Regional High School
Mt. Everett Regional High School
Needham High School
Newburyport High School
Norwell High School
Oliver Ames High School
Peabody Veterans Memorial High School
Pittsfield High School
Presentation of Mary Academy
Prospect Hill Academy Charter School
Ralph C. Mahar Regional High School
Randolph High School
Revere High School
Rockland High School
Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical High School
Salem Academy Charter School
Sandwich High School
Saugus High Svhool
South Hadley High School
Southfield School
Springfield Central High School
Stoneham High School
Sturgis Charter Public School East
Sturgis Charter Public School West
Swampscott High School
Taunton High School
TechBoston Academy
Tyngsborough High School
Urban Scholars
West Springfield High School
Westfield High School
Whitman-Hanson Regional High School
Wilbraham & Monson Academy
Wilmington High School
Winchester High School 

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