Poetry Out Loud State Finals this Sunday, March 11


(BOSTON) – Twenty-five students from across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts advanced from this weekend’s four regional semi-final contests of the 13th annual Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest to compete in the State Finals on Sunday, March 11 at the Old South Meeting House (310 Washington Street, Boston). The event begins at 9:30am and is free and open to the public. The Huntington Theatre Company’s Department of Education has facilitated the Massachusetts chapter of this national contest in partnership with the Mass Cultural Council since its inception 13 years ago.

The 2018 Poetry Out Loud Massachusetts Finalists are: (listed alphabetically by school)

  1. Nerlande Bossous, Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter School (Boston, MA)
  2. Joseph Zhang, Algonquin Regional High School (Northborough, MA)
  3. Ceili Magnus, Barnstable High School (Hyannis, MA)
  4. Samir Kassem, Bishop Feehan High School (Attleboro, MA)
  5. Leo Guerrero, Boston College High School (Boston, MA)
  6. Xiadi Zhai, Boston Latin School (Boston, MA)
  7. Anotidaishe Chikunya, Dana Hall School (Wellesley, MA)
  8. Katrina Wilson, Falmouth High School (Falmouth, MA)
  9. Samhita Modak, Franklin High School (Franklin, MA)
  10. Brooke Naylor, Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School (Greenfield, MA)
  11. Megan Fitzpatrick, Groton-Dunstable Regional High School (Groton, MA)
  12. Grace Hwang, International School of Boston (Cambridge, MA)
  13. Emma Jacklin, Ipswich High School (Ipswich, MA)
  14. Esther Yen, Longmeadow High School (Longmeadow, MA)
  15. Helen Rahman, Masconomet Regional High School (Boxford, MA)
  16. Piyusha Kundu, Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science (Worcester, MA)
  17. Celine Voyard, Meridian Academy (Boston, MA)
  18. Stephanya Moran, Minnechaug Regional High School (Wilbraham, MA)
  19. Maria DeManbey, Mt. Everett Regional High School (Sheffield, MA)
  20. Phaedra Plank, Nantucket High School (Nantucket, MA)
  21. Tori Milun, Norwell High School (Norwell, MA)
  22. Megan Francis, Sharon High School (Sharon, MA)
  23. Karina Rosado, Springfield Renaissance School (Springfield, MA)
  24. Abigail Jones, Sturgis Charter Public School West (Hyannis, MA)
  25. Lina Reid, Tabor Academy (Marion, MA)

More than 22,700 students participated in classroom and school-wide contests at 90 schools – the highest number of schools to have ever participated in Poetry Out Loud Massachusetts. 86 winners from the school level advanced to semi-final contests in Boston, Framingham, Springfield, and Cape Cod on March 3 and 4. The 25 finalists were the top scoring contestants at their respective semi-final contests. The Massachusetts POL State Champion, to be named this Sunday, will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC in April to compete in the national finals.

The Huntington’s Department of Education facilitates the Massachusetts competition, one of the largest POL chapters in the nation, with support from the Mass Cultural Council. The program is facilitated nationally by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. This year Massachusetts ranked 2nd in the nation for number of students participating in Poetry Out Loud, 3rd in the nation for number of teachers participating, and 5th in the nation for number of schools participating. This is the eighth year in a row Massachusetts has achieved a top-5 national ranking for student, school, and/or teacher participation.

Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national recitation contest run by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation 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, POL has inspired more than 3.6 million high school students from 14,000 schools across the country to discover and appreciate both classic and contemporary poetry. The NEA and Poetry Foundation partner with state arts agencies in all 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands to support POL. Poetry Out Loud is a free program for schools, and all state contests are free and open to the public.

Learn more about Poetry Out Loud Massachusetts at

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About the Huntington Theatre Company:
The Huntington Theatre Company is Boston’s leading professional theatre and one of the region’s premier cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Huntington brings together superb local and national talent and produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions. The Huntington 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. The Huntington has long been an anchor cultural institution of Huntington Avenue, the Avenue of the Arts, and will remain so on a permanent basis with plans to convert the Huntington Avenue Theatre into a first-rate, modern venue with expanded services to audiences, artists, and the community. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit

About the Mass Cultural Council:
The Mass 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 Mass Cultural Council 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.

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