The original article by Kelly McDonough was published in the Abington Journal.

From left, English teacher John Zachary Monahan, Maria Adonizio and English teacher Jennifer Tarr. – Zachary Allen | For Abington Journal

CLARKS SUMMIT — Maria Adonizio plans to compete Dec. 11 at WVIA in the regional Poetry Out Loud finals.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with the aie/NEPA at NEIU19 to support 2019 Poetry Out Loud, a free high school program that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation.

“This dynamic program helps high school students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, learn about literary heritage and compete for more than $100,000 in awards,” said Dr. Catherine Cullen, executive director of NEIU19.

Adonizio chose Poetry Out Loud because she loves to act.

“I jump at an opportunity to be able to act and perform,” she said. “English is my favorite class, and I love reading and analyzing literature, so it’s really fun to dive into some amazing poetry. Poetry Out Loud put my two passions together.”

Adonizio explained how the competition is special because there is nothing else like it.

“The first step was picking the poems. I looked through the POL website for a while until I found three poems that really spoke to me,” she said. “I chose ‘Where did the handsome beloved go?’ by Jala Al-Din Rumi, ‘Walking with my Delaware grandfather’ by Denise Low and ‘1969’ by Alex Dimitrov.” The hardest part is memorizing them. I write them down or say them out loud until I know all three poems by heart. My favorite part is analyzing them and working with my coaches on how to recite them.”

John Monahan, an English teacher and drama society advisor at AHHS, expects Adonizio to do well in the competition because she’s involved in the drama society, does community theater, is a good student and very interested in English language arts.

“I think her background in theater will help her be able to communicate the intended meanings of the poems to the judges,” he said. “I think she’ll have an upper hand in terms of her vocal delivery and physicality on stage and just overall confidence because of her theater background.”

Kristen Smith, grants and education officer at WVIA Public Media, explained how each year WVIA opens its doors to the Poetry Out Loud competition. As the host of POL, WVIA supports the poetry and spoken word competition for its uncompromising commitment to students.

“We believe that POL exceptionally prepares the students for public speaking, encourages self-expression, fosters a respect and passion for interpretation, and enables the audience and students to experience poetry in a unique and meaningful way,” said Smith.

WVIA will film the POL competition in its Sordoni Theater. The program will air in April during National Poetry Month.

Maria Adonizio, a junior at Abington Heights High School, is a semi-finalist for the Poetry Out Loud competition. – Zachary Allen | For Abington Journal

Maria Adonizio, a junior at Abington Heights High School, is a semi-finalist for the Poetry Out Loud competition. – Zachary Allen | For Abington Journal