On Jan. 24, 11 outstanding finalists competed in the 8th annual Methuen High School Poetry Out Loud Final Competition. After two rounds of impressive performances, senior Calysa Alba was named the MHS Poetry Out Loud champion and will represent MHS at the state semifinals in Newburyport in March.

In addition to Calysa, this year’s competitors were seniors Myali Dominguez, Abigail “Echo” LaRochelle, Fabian Montanez Crespo (first runner-up) and Maribelle Spiridon; junior Isabella Cerone (second runner-up); sophomores Gabrielle Larochel and Yahir Nunez Rivera; and freshmen Maria Clara Teixeira, Kelvin Jaime Abreu and Natalie Silvera.

Poetry Out Loud “helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life,” according to its website.

“At Methuen High School, it is a schoolwide competition,” according to English Department Chair Christine Dumont. “Students select poems to memorize and recite in their English classes, and each class selects a representative to compete in the school semi-finals. The winners from each semi-final block, as well as a handful of wild card recipients, move on to the MHS Poetry Out Loud Finals.” 

The entire MHS English Department helped to organize and support the competition. This year’s performance judges were Superintendent Brandi Kwong, Assistant Superintendent Lisa Golobski Twomey, Principal Richard Barden, Interim Associate Principal Jaqueline Rubino, English Chair Dumont and math teacher Angelo Pocoli. English teacher Sarah Grant served as the accuracy judge. English teachers Kristen DiGloria and Michelle Paquette were prompters, and John McKenna was master of ceremonies.