Press release from Count Basie Theatre

Competitors have been announced for the regional Monmouth / Ocean / Middlesex county round of the annual, national Poetry Out Loud competition, hosted by the Count Basie Theatre Performing Arts Academy on Tuesday, February 7.
The 10 a.m. competition will choose two winners, who will advance (along with the winners of five other regional rounds), to compete in the statewide Poetry Out Loud competition, to be held on March 9 at The College of New Jersey’s Mayo Concert Hall at The Center for the Arts. From there, one state champion will advance to the National Finals in Washington, D.C. where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed.

This year’s Monmouth / Ocean / Middlesex county competitors are:

Nora Asker (Freshman, Noor UI-Iman)

Sarah Baum (Junior, Marlboro High School)

Kristen Bray (Senior, Howell High School)

Megan Brown (Freshman, Ocean County Vocational Tech School – Performing Arts Academy)

Alexa Cahill (Senior, Middletown High School North)

Marlene Fernandez (Sophomore, Central Regional High School)

Samantha Ferreira (Senior, Colonia High School)

Julia Forsyth (Junior, Henry Hudson Regional School)

Anthony Forte (Junior, Barnegat High School)

Alec Gousett (Senior, Colts Neck High School)

Shea Grant (Sophomore, Red Bank Regional High School)

Danyal Malik (Senior, Holmdel High School)

Gisselle Martinez (Sophomore, South River High School)

Joseph Paolantonio (Junior, Monmouth Regional High School)

Karielys Rivera (Junior, Freehold High School)

Alexandra Szewczyk (Senior, Shore Regional High School)

Sophia Turci (Junior, Piscataway High School)

Daniel Wall (Senior, John P. Stevens High School)

Adi Zacks (Junior, Spotswood High School)

Over the past 11 years, Poetry Out Loud has reached more than 3 million students and 45,000 teachers from 10,000 schools nationwide. Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. Students participating in the various levels of competition recite works that they have selected from an anthology of more than 900 classic and contemporary poems. Judges then evaluate student performances on criteria that include voice and articulation, evidence of understanding, and accuracy.

In the event of inclement weather, the Monmouth / Ocean / Middlesex round will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, February 14 at the Basie’s Performing Arts Center building.