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Orange High School Senior Earns Applause at Regional Poetry Out Loud Contest

7 February 2024 · Office of Communications

Student shines at Poetry Out Loud contest held at the South Orange Performing Arts Center
Jennifer Inamagua's captivating and courageous speaking earns praise, highlighting strong talent for poetry.

ORANGE, NJ – After a competitive and creative district-wide Poetry Out Loud competition, Orange High School senior Jennifer Inamagua progressed to the Poetry Out Loud Region 5 Contest held locally at the South Orange Performing Arts Center on February 6. Region 5 of the statewide competition consists of Essex and Union counties. Gina Hulings, board member and Arts Education committee member from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts welcomed the crowd to start the competition. Johanna Wright and Anita Mack introduced the finalists from the region for three rounds of the contest, which included Ms. Inamagua's peers from West Orange, Newark, Livingston, Springfield, and more.

In a remarkable showcase of spoken talent, Ms. Inamagua captivated the audience at the competition's first round with her well-rehearsed recitations. Displaying a profound understanding of her chosen poems, Jennifer started her first round entry with "Crossing the Bar," delivering it with heartfelt precision. Despite a momentary stumble in her second poem, William Blake's "A Poison Tree," Jennifer swiftly recovered and concluded firmly.

The audience was especially engaged during Jennifer's final poem by Gwendolyn Brooks, entitled "Truth," expressing their admiration with cheers as she gracefully exited the stage. The competition's judges emphasized the significance of the rubric, accuracy, and thoughtful poem selection rather than the length or liveliness of student performances.

New Jersey Poetry Out Loud is a project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Count Basie Center for the Arts. Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program, led by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, in partnership with the state and jurisdictional arts agencies across the country.

In New Jersey, the State Arts Council and the Basie Center work with a growing network of regional partners to implement the program across the state.

The Council gave a special commendation to Orange Superintendent Dr. Gerald Fitzhugh, II, for being the first superintendent in the region to attend their Poetry Out Loud event at the South Orange Performing Arts Center and showing strong support from at the school district level. Dr. Russo, Dr. Griffin, Mr. Worthington, and Ms. Jackson added a touch of distinction to the day with their attendance.

Upon returning to the high school, participants enjoyed a reflective moment over pizza, making this Poetry Out Loud experience truly memorable for our students. Jennifer Inamagua can take pride in her well-practiced skills and hard work.