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Mepham Congratulates Poetry Winners

Editor's Note: This article was written and submitted by representatives of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District.

Mepham High School recently announced the school’s winners for the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest.  

Tenth grader Alyssa Rabinowitz won first Place,12th grader Dakota Balunis won second place and 11th grader Eric Seltzer won third place for the school competition.

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The competition, presented in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.  

Throughout November, more than 600 students from Mepham High School participated in the Poetry Out Loud competition in their English classes. Poetry Out Loud Lead Teacher Nicole Maresca, and English Chairperson Marie Netto organized Mepham’s participation in this national competition.  

On Dec. 18, 2012, nearly 120 students filled the choral roomto hear the 22 classroom winners recite their poems in the school wide ELITE event.

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure. Beginning at the classroom level, winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a regional competition, and ultimately, to the National Finals in Washington, DC. More than 400,000 students across the country are expected to take part in Poetry Out Loud this year.

At Mepham High School, students recited works they selected from an anthology of nearly 600 classic and contemporary poems. Judges evaluated student performances on criteria including articulation, evidence of understanding, level of difficulty and accuracy. All three school finalists will advance to the regional contest at Nassau Community College on Feb. 25.  

Winners of the regional contest will represent their high school at the New York State competition. Each champion at the state level will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC to compete for the national championship on April 28-30.  

The schools of the state champions will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry books.

Mepham High School is looking for another state champion following the success of Steven Tsai, who represented Mepham and New York State at the national finals in April 2011. To learn more about the New York State Poetry Out Loud contest, contact Ellen Rubin atauthors@nyla.org or visit www.poetryoutloud.org.

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