Greencastle teen wins regional poetry contest title

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

Alex Jackson of Greencastle and a Mercersburg Academy student, placed first in a regional final for Poetry Out Loud’s National Recitation Contest held Feb. 20 at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg.

Eight school champions from a region that includes York, Adams, Franklin and Fulton counties competed. Jackson will join 13 other regional winners at the State Finals Monday, March 11, at the Governor’s Mansion in Harrisburg. Pennsylvania First Lady Susan Corbett will serve as host for the event.

This is Jackson’s first year competing in the poetry contest.

“I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to go and to work with two great instructors, Mr. [Matthew] Caretti and Ms. [Laurie] Mufson,” Jackson said. “Without their help, winning would not have been possible.”

Jackson, a sophomore at the academy, said he can’t wait for the state competition. “I have no expectations going in, except to do my best,” he says. “We will see where that takes me!”

The competition, presented in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high-school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. More than 500,000 students across the country are participating in Poetry Out Loud this year.

Contestants recite works they selected from an anthology of more than 500 classic and contemporary poems. The state winner receives $200 and the winner’s school earns a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books, while the second-place finalist receives $100, with $200 going to his/her school library. The state winner will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the National Finals April 28–30 in Washington, D.C. At the national event, a total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends will be awarded, including a $20,000 scholarship for the Poetry Out Loud national champion.