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Two advance in Poetry Out Loud competition

Filed in Archive, Student Spotlight by on January 6, 2020

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On Friday, January 3 the English Department held its third annual BCHS Poetry Out Loud competition in the cafeteria. Fifteen students participated, representing all four grade levels. Each student recited a poem of their choosing from memory and four judges evaluated their performances based on the following categories:

  • physical presence;
  • voice and articulation;
  • dramatic appropriateness;
  • level of understanding;
  • overall performance; and
  • accuracy.

Five students advanced to the second round including Lizzie Hancox, Stacey Lee, Nya Santeliz, Mackenzie Townsend, and Pamela White. After the second round of poems, the finalists’ total scores identified two clear champions:

  • Pamela White (grade 9) was named the 2020 BCHS Poetry Out Loud champion; and
  • Nya Santeliz (grade 11) was the 2020 BCHS Poetry Out Loud runner-up.

Both students will represent BCHS at a Poetry Out Loud Regional event in February.

Poet Dave Johnson of the Teachers and Writers Collaborative was on hand to talk about his involvement in an upcoming anthology of student poetry. The poet – who worked with students to help them with their recitations, writing and presentation skills prior to the Jan. 3 event —  is seeking anyone who has been inspired by the program to write original work and submit it for consideration. For more information contact Dave Johnson by email at

The following is a list of contestants and the poems they competed with:

Round 1

  • Matthew Connelly (10) – “A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky” by Lewis Carroll
  • Emma Edgar (11) – “Today” by Billy Collins
  • David Espinal (10 – “In Praise of my Bed” by Meredith Holmes
  • Elianna Figueroa Sealey (10) – “Cartoon Physics, part 1” by Nick Flynn
  • Lizzie Hancox (11) – “On Monsieur’s Departure” by Queen Elizabeth I
  • Cali Knox (11) – “Love Song” by Dorothy Parker
  • Stacey Lee (11) – “And Soul” by Eavan Boland
  • Sasha Levin (10 – “The Conqueror Worm” by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Joe Mocerine (11) – “On the Death of Anne Brontë” by Charlotte Bronte
  • Sage Obernesser (10) – “Abecedarian Requiring Further Examination of Anglikan Seraphym  Subjugation of a Wild Indian Rezervation” by Natalie Diaz
  • Nya Santeliz (11) – “kitchenette building” by Gwendolyn Brooks
  • Shannon Skawinski (9) – “The Albatross” by Kate Bass
  • Megan Sparks (10) – “To have without holding” by Marge Piercy
  • Mackenzie Townsend (12) – “Love Song” by Dorothy Parker
  • Pamela White (9) – “Songs for the People” by Frances Ellen Watkins Harpe

Round 2

  • Lizzie Hancox (11) – “Epitaph on the Lady Mary Villiers” by Thomas Carew
  • Stacey Lee (11) – “Let the Light Enter” by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
  • Nya Santeliz (11) – “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley
  • Mackenzie Townsend (12 – “Properly Scholarly Attitude” by Adelaide Crapsey
  • Pamela White (9) – “I Know, I Remember, But How Can I Help You” by Hayden Carruth

Congratulations to our winners and to all of this year’s Poetry Out Loud contestants!