Judge names 16 Semifinalists for 2015 Poetry Out Loud

Since 2006, all students enrolled at Judge Memorial Catholic High School compete in an annual school-wide Poetry Out Loud competition. Coordinated by the English department, every student, in all grade levels, is required to recite a poem from the national Poetry Out Loud anthology. Students select these poems in their English classes, reciting them in front of their classmates in daily classes. Each English class selects a finalist(s), and that group of students performs their poem in the Judge Auditorium before a large audience of Judge students, faculty and staff. School-wide finalists are selected by English faculty members.

In early-February, the Judge Memorial English faculty named 16 school semifinalists. These 16 will perform their poems at a school-wide assembly on February 4. From this group, a school finalist will be selected and will go on to compete in the state-wide competition.

Judge Memorial has had strong success at the most recent State competitions. In 2014, Nick Markham earned State runner-up status. In 2011, Michael Junkins finished in the top six. Laura Lighty was a 2010 State runner-up. In 2009, Katie Harrington was named the State runner-up, reciting "Detroit, Tomorrow" by Philip Levine, a 315-word poem, for the final round.

Judge Memorial’s 2015 Poetry Out Loud semifinalists:
  • Aluwet Deng, 10th grade
  • Foster Dennin, 10th grade
  • Pricilla Fehoko, 11th grade
  • Louis Fisher, 10th grade
  • Matt Krump, 12th grade
  • Erin Malooly, 12th grade
  • Sierra Meyer, 12th grade
  • Leena Ngo, 11th grade
  • Jackson O'Neal, 10th grade
  • Katie Parker, 12th grade
  • XiaoXuan (Victoria) Meng, 11th grade
  • Tyler Rollman, 11th grade
  • Victoria Stephens, 10th grade
  • Rose Anne Tafaoialii, 10th grade
  • Lexi Thomsen, 9th grade
  • Catherine Valeo, 9th grade

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with U.S. state arts agencies to support Poetry Out Loud, a contest that encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

After successful pilot programs in Washington, DC, and Chicago, Poetry Out Loud was launched in high schools nationwide in the spring of 2006 and has grown to involve millions of students across the country.