Mary Bosco ’24 Runner-up in Statewide Poetry Recitation Contest
March 22, 2022
This year, TA was one of 19 schools across Vermont registered to bring the national Poetry Out Loud program to their classrooms. The program has been a part of Thetford Academy’s English 10 curriculum for the past 13 years, and all TA students are invited and encouraged to compete in the school’s annual Poetry Out Loud competition. In February, Mary Bosco ’24 was one of those competitors, winning over TA’s panel of judges and earning a spot at the statewide competition.
The March 14 event, held at the Barre Opera House, featured students from 18 schools across the state. Emceed by spoken word poet Rajnii Eddins, the competition was judged by a panel of distinguished poets and performers including Sarah Audsley, poet; Susan Haefner, actor and teaching artist; John Hadden, actor and teaching artist; and Vera Escaja Heiss, former Vermont Poetry Out Loud champion.
Back in 2021, Mary competed in TA’s competition, which, due to Covid, was held outside on the snow. She returned this year with knowledge of the event and the Poetry Out Loud unit from English 10 behind her. Like most of the other TA contest participants, Mary opted to spend some time before the school contest working with a guest POL coach Morgan Irons who has a theater background and was supported by the Vermont Arts Council. Once Mary was named our school champion, she worked with Kay Morton to prepare for Barre. Kay is a TA alum, actor, writer, and often a volunteer for TA’s theater productions.
At Barre, each of the contestants recited two poems. Mary showed tremendous poise and courage when she took the stage as one of the five students who were invited to recite a third poem. She had been hopeful that she would be named one of the five finalists, but knew that any number of the participants also had a good shot. According to English teacher Emily Silver, “Mary seemed to feel energized and inspired by the opportunity rather than daunted by it. That’s, at least, how it looked from a seat in the audience!” Mary recited Meg Day’s “Portrait of My Gender as [Inaudible]”; Ann Taylor and Jane Taylor’s “The Star”; and Joy Harjo’s “Perhaps the World Ends Here.”
In the end, Gianna Morin of South Burlington earned the top spot, receiving $200 and advancing to the national finals where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed. As first runner-up, Mary earned $100 and $200 for Thetford Academy. This is the third time that TA’s school representative has advanced to the top level within the state contest: in 2016 Izzy Kotlowitz reached the top 10 in the state. Eloise Silver Van Meter advanced in 2019, 2020, and 2021, earning a high of 3rd place in the state. Congratulations, Mary, for your excellence and success in Poetry Out Loud.