Great Barrington — Thirty-two Monument Mountain Regional High School students were invited to advance to this year’s Poetry Out Loud School Finals on Tuesday, December 16 at 1 p.m. in the high school auditorium. (Snow date: December 17)
This is the ninth year of Monument High’s participation in the program, and in every year but the first, Monument’s school champion made it to state finals.
According to the Poetry Out Loud website, “the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with U.S. state arts agencies to support Poetry Out Loud, a contest that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation.” The program “helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. After successful pilot programs in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Poetry Out Loud was launched in high schools nationwide in the spring of 2006 and has grown to involve millions of students across the country.”
Monument English teacher Lisken Van Pelt Dus introduced the program to the school and coordinated it. Over the years, every English teacher and about 75 percent of Monument students have participated at the classroom level. This year, more than half of Monument’s teachers, and about 250 students participated.
Thirty-two students participated in grade-level, school semi-finals; ten will participate in school finals. They are:
9th grade – Stella Bellow and Olivia Jaffe
10th grade – Gabriel Philps and Sam Seckler
11th and 12th grades – Natalia Whalen, Samantha Mitchell, Stephanie Mathieu, Caroline Sprague, Catherine Baum, and Emma Adler.