Editor's Note: The following news release was issued by Lawrence Township Public Schools.
Lawrence High School hosted its fourth annual Poetry Out Loud contest on Jan. 10, and sophomore Jean-Adelle Tagoe emerged as the winner in a competitive field of school finalists.
Adelle edged out 13 other students with her memorized performances of "Her Head" (Joan Murray) and "Thoughtless Cruelty" (Charles Lamb) before a crowded auditorium on Thursday.
She will go on to represent LHS at the New Jersey Region 2 competition at Two River Theater in Red Bank on Feb. 12.
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.
This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.
After successful pilot programs in Washington, DC, and Chicago, Poetry Out Loud was launched in high schools nationwide in the spring of 2006 with tens of thousands of students participating. Poetry Out Loud has grown every year with over 365,000 students competing in 2011-2012.
Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure that starts at the classroom level. Winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a regional and/or state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals in April.
Each winner at the state level receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington to compete for the national championship. The state winner's school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.
The first runner-up in each state receives $100, with $200 for his or her school library. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded annually at the National Finals.
- Jean-Adelle Tagoe (grade 10), champion
- Natasha Vargas (grade 11), first runner-up
- Mariefred Evans (grade 10, American Sign Language), second runner-up
Masters of Ceremony: Marie Buschman and Marco Sebastian