For the second year in a row, senior Olivia “Ollie” Currier took first place in Philadelphia’s Poetry Out Loud 2023 regional competition. With her performance of “In Praise of my Bed” by Meredith Holmes, “Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper” by Martin Espada, and “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, Ollie bested participants from seven high schools across southeastern PA. This is the third year that she has represented Merion Mercy Academy in the competition.
Typically 5-10 students compete annually to represent MMA at the regional level. Student competitors deliver their poems to the English faculty who determine the winner based on prescribed elements such as evidence of understanding, accuracy, use of appropriate tone and emotion, and vocal clarity and variety.
Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation contest for high school students sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The program is designed to help students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership produces the regional competition on behalf of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.
Ollie will advance to the Pennsylvania State Competition in Harrisburg and the state winner should be announced on March 13. The winner of the state competition then competes in the national competition in Washington, D.C.