CLARK — Christelle Marie Chua, a resident of Edison and a junior at Mother Senior Regional High School in Clark, was one of only two winners in a regional New Jersey competition of Poetry Out Loud.
Twenty-one high schools covering five counties each sent a student to the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown on Feb. 6. Each student had memorized three poems to recite expressively from the stage. Chua had prepared works by Gerard Manley Hopkins, a 19th century British author, and by Lucille Clifton and Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, both 20th century American poets.
Poetry Out Loud, now in its seventh year, was created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation; it is administered in partnership with all 50 State Arts Agencies.
Chua and her co-winner earned the right to compete at the state level in Princeton on March 15. The New Jersey state winner will attend the annual national competition in Washington on April 29-30.
Back at Mother Seton, several English department faculty members were rejoicing—especially since this was the first year that the school had participated in the contest. Melissa Larson, Chua’s creative writing teacher, had organized Poetry Out Loud at the school. Veronica Turowski, Chua’s current English teacher, had held the initial program meeting. Dr. Marylou Motto, Chua’s sophomore year English teacher, accompanied her to the competition. Everyone was so happy for their student’s success.