Shaker High School Student Selected as New York State Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest Winner

Genevieve Mailloux, a Shaker High School student from the Capital Region, took first place in the New York State Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, held March 13 at the New York State Museum. After successful wins in Shaker High School's English classroom and school-wide competitions, she graduated to the state-level event to perform her winning recitations of Possible Answers to Prayer by Scott Cairns and Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes by Thomas Gray. She was coached to the top by Shaker High School English teacher Maureen Livingston.

Mailloux received $200 in cash and a $75 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble. In addition, her school received a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. As the New York State Champion of Poetry Out Loud, Mailloux also receives an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the National Finals in Washington, DC on April 29. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals will award a total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends, with a $20,000 college scholarship for the national champion.

Tenelle Amber Veira took second place representing The High School for Global Citizenship, which was led by English teacher Marie Lewis. Veira read a song in the front yard by Gwendolyn Brooks and The Slave Auction by Frances Harper. Veira is a senior. As the runner-up, she received $100 and a $50 gift certificate, with $200 for poetry books for her school library.

In third place was Rosetta B. Fairley, who represented West Babylon High School with her readings of The Slave Auction by Frances Harper and Difference by Stephen Vincent Benet. The Poetry Out Loud coordinator at Rosetta's school was Hans Haugen.

The contestants recited works selected from an anthology of more than 400 classic and contemporary poems. The anthologies were provided to teachers along with other curriculum-building materials, including a standards-based teacher's guide, a comprehensive website, and a CD featuring poetry recitations by well-known actors and writers such as Anthony Hopkins, Alyssa Milano, N. Scott Momaday, and Rita Dove.

The event was opened by NY State Council on the Arts' Arts in Education Director Amy Duggins Pender, and the student recitations were judged by a panel of accomplished educators and poets, including Kevin Craig West, Lois Elaine Griffith of the Nuyorican Poetry Cafe, Jeanne Finley of the New York State Writers Institute, and Maryann Malecki of WAMC Northeast Public Radio.

Poetry Out Loud is a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry as they memorize and perform notable poems in a series of competitions that begin in the classroom and will culminate with national championships in Washington, D.C. in April. The program was presented in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, and Time Warner Cable.