Bronxville High School junior Mia Bettino received one of the top honors at the Poetry Out Loud Hudson Regional Competition on Feb. 2, earning a spot in the state competition, which will be held on March 14 in Syracuse.
“Mia’s performances connected not only with the material, but also with the audience,” said Victor Maxwell, an English teacher and poetry coach at the high school. “She made movies in the audience’s mind, turning the words into living images for them to experience.”
Poetry Out Loud is a national contest that encourages students to learn about poetry through memorization and recitation. The program helps them master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure that begins at the classroom, then takes schoolwide winners to the regional and/or state competition, and ultimately to the national finals.
“Students choose, learn and then recite the poems at competitions, where they are judged not only for accuracy, but for conveying the meaning of the poem in a dramatically appropriate way,” Maxwell said. “Successful reciters step into the shoes of the poet and gain an intimate and subtle knowledge of their poems.”
Bettino, who advanced to the Poetry Out Loud Hudson Regional Competition for the second year in a row, won the schoolwide contest. She and sophomore Eva Cagliostro, who was the schoolwide runner-up, competed at this year’s regionals against 16 students from eight local schools.
At the state competition, Bettino will compete for a spot in the national finals and a chance to win cash awards and school stipends for the purchase of poetry books.
For more information on Poetry Out Loud, visit www.poetryoutloud.org.