Sophomore Andrew Decker won MMI Preparatory School’s Poetry Out Loud competition for the second consecutive year and will represent MMI in the televised regional Poetry Out Loud competition on December 7 at the WVIA-TV studios in Pittston. Senior Gabriella DeMelfi placed second and junior Chava Kornblatt finished third.
Andrew Decker is the son of Aaron Decker, Kingston, and Elizabeth and Troy Topolski, Sugarloaf. Gabriella DeMelfi is the daughter of Daniel and Esme DeMelfi of Hazleton, and Chava Kornblatt is the daughter of Joseph and Georgia Kornblatt of Kingston.
Jennifer Novotney, Katherine Zucco and Madison Below served as judges and Novotney is the MMI Poetry Out Loud faculty adviser.
Decker will compete against other students from throughout the area at regionals, with the winner moving on to the state finals in March of 2016. Students will recite two poems each and the top three will recite a third poem during the competition. The local regional event will feature students from Luzerne, Lackawanna, northwestern Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and eastern Wyoming counties and is under the direction of Arts in Education of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit 19. The regional competition will be televised in April on WVIA-TV in recognition of National Poetry Month.
Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about literary history and contemporary life. The competition is part of the coupling of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation with U.S. state arts agencies. Since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than 3 million students and 50,000 teachers from 10,000 schools in every state, Washington, D.C., the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Poetry Out Loud starts at the classroom level, moving on to school-wide competition. Regional, state and, ultimately, the National Finals follow. State final winners receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington, D.C., to compete in the National Finals. The state winner's school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.
More information can be found at www.poetryoutloud.org.