Power of Culture Blog
85 Creative Youth Development programs across the state share their challenges and successes
Congratulations to 2023 Massachusetts State Champion Jaden Riley, a senior at John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science in Roxbury
After two years of competing virtually, the 2023 Massachusetts Poetry Out Loud contest returned to the stage, in-person! Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest for high school students that celebrates the power of the spoken word and mastery of public speaking skills. Students choose poems that they connect to from a national anthology. As they take poetry from page to stage, they cultivate self-confidence and an appreciation of their literary heritage. Each year, Poetry Out Loud inspires hundreds of thousands of students nationally to discover and appreciate both classic and contemporary poetry.
Congratulations to 2023 Massachusetts State Champion Jaden Riley, a senior at John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science in Roxbury. Second place went to Tuala Sullivan (a senior at Newburyport High School in Newburyport) and third place to Ellis Iurilli-Hough (a senior at Melrose High School in Melrose). Klea Pocoli (a senior at Methuen High School in Methuen) and Maria Zaki (a junior at Franklin High School in Franklin) round out the top five 2023 state finalists.
Poetry Out Loud is run throughout the U.S. by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The Huntington Theater Education Department in partnership with Mass Cultural Council manages the state program.
Students start their Poetry Out Loud experience by participating in a contest at their school. This year, over 11,600 students participated at 48 schools across the Commonwealth. School winners then compete in regional contests; regional winners progress to the state finals. This year 11 students participated in the state finals which took place on March 12 at the historic Old South Meeting House in Boston. State Champion Jaden Riley will go on to compete at the national level at the end of April.
“Poetry is a powerful art form that takes letters and turns them into words and words into thoughts, which allow us to individually explore new perspectives and emotions. And when young people speak those words, it’s truly awesome,” said Mass Cultural Council Executive Director Michael Bobbitt. “Our thanks to the Huntington Theater’s Education Department. Because of their hard work and dedication, Massachusetts ranks among the top five states for participation in the country.”
2023 State Champion
John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science
Newburyport High School
Melrose High School
Kyle Colbourn, Algonquin Regional High School
Chloe Dantus, Avon Middle High School
Charlotte French, Dartmouth High School
Maria Zaki, Franklin High School
Klea Pocoli, Methuen High School
Alexandra Tsourides, Plymouth South High School
Charles Bacon, St. Sebastian’s School
Moira O’Connor Doolittle, South Hadley High School