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Bronxville Union Free School District

Sophomores Earn Spots in Poetry Out Loud Regional Competition

Bronxville High School sophomores Olivia Lewis and Jack Kochansky were named winner and runner-up, respectively, in the schoolwide Poetry Out Loud competition. They’ve each earned a spot in the regional competition, which will be held on Feb. 16 at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Katie Murphy Amphitheatre.

Lewis, who recited “The Obligation to Be Happy,” and Kochansky, who recited “Entirely,” competed against more than 20 other students for a chance to advance to the next level of the competition. They performed in front of an audience of peers and a panel of judges, which included Mayor Mary Marvin, Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Quattrone and English teacher Franco D’Alessandro.

“The students were evaluated not only for accuracy, but for conveying the meaning of the poem in a dramatically appropriate way,” said Victor Maxwell, an English teacher and Poetry Out Loud coordinator. “Other criteria included physical presence, voice and articulation, evidence and understanding, and overall performance.”

Poetry Out Loud is a national contest that encourages students to learn about poetry through memorization and recitation. Its also helps them master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about literacy history. The program uses a pyramid structure that begins at the classroom level, then takes schoolwide winners to the regional and/or state competition and ultimately to the national finals.

At the regional competition, Lewis and Kochansky will each compete for a spot in the state competition, which will take place on March 10 in Syracuse.