Update: Jennifer Shon '25 Places Third in State "Poetry Out Loud" Competition

Update: Jennifer Shon ’25 places third in the Poetry Out Loud State finals

Fourth-form student Jennifer Shon placed third in the Poetry Out Loud State finals Sunday, March 11. According to Michael St. Thomas, Head of the English Department at the Abbey, who attended the competition at the Odeum in East Greenwich, each of the 12 State finalists recited two poems. Jennifer carefully selected “Let the Light Enter”—which won her a spot at the State finals—along with “Songs for the People,” both by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. She was one of five finalists invited back to perform a third piece, Jennifer’s choice being a humorous poem by Kara Jackson, “anthem for my belly after eating too much.”

Head of Performing Arts Jay Bragan, who coordinated the competition at the School, said the judges at the State finals consider the following categories: Physical Presence, Voice & Articulation, Dramatic Appropriateness and Evidence of Understanding. 

Bragan commented, “Jennifer uses her language very well, especially with pitch. She has a nice way of stressing a word, making the meaning clear while also bringing out the emotions. We are very proud of Jennifer and congratulate her for this great accomplishment.”

Jennifer and six other "School Champions" from the State finals are invited to recite one of their poems at the Providence Athenaeum's Spring Celebration of Poetry Friday, April 28. She will also will recite her poems at an upcoming Portsmouth Abbey School assembly this spring, along with the other students who placed in the School competition.

Cover photo (l-r, First, Second and Third place): Natasha Connolly (Classical High School), Jephte Pinthiere (Central High School), and Jennifer Shon '25.

Photos courtesy of Poetry Out Loud R.I.

Updated: Tuesday, March 21 at 9 a.m.

In February, Portsmouth Abbey School held a "Poetry Out Loud" competition on campus. Participants were required to recite a poem, with points given for memorization and delivery, among others. Jennifer Shon '25 took first place for her passionate reception of "Let the Light Entire" by Frances Ellen Harper. 

The second place went to Kent Kim '23 and the third place went to Jennifer Rui '25. A well-earned honorable mention was extended to Alana Collins '25.

As announced by the Rhode Island Council on the Arts (RISCA) this week, Jennifer S. will go on to compete in the state finals alongside twelve other high school students from across the state. A single champion will compete in the national finals in Washington, D.C. in May.

According to Portsmouth Patch, the 2023 state champion receives $200, and the winner's school gets a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials for their library.

Read the full article on Portsmouth Patch.

Pictured: Jennifer Shon '25 in first place (left), along with Kent Kim '23 (top) in second, Jennifer Rui '25 in third (middle), and Alana Collins '25 (bottom) with a well-deserved honorable mention.