J-D student makes top 5 in 2024 Poetry Out Loud NYS Final

Photo of Anadia St. James standing next to Poetry Out Loud competition banner. Please join us in congratulating J-DHS senior Anadia St. John for placing top 5 in the 2024 Poetry Out Loud New York State Final on Saturday, March 9 at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

Poetry Out Loud is a national high school recitation competition supported by the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts in which thousands of students from across the country memorize and recite poetry at the school, region, state, and national levels.

Anadia was among 18 state finalists comprising the top two finishers from each of the state’s 9 regions. Students performed a range of poems by poets like Ross Gay, Padma Venkatraman, Maya Angelou, Chen Chen, Emily Dickinson, and Arthur Sze. Anadia performed recitations of three poems: “Spring Snow” by Arthur Sze, “To have without holding” by Marge Piercy and “Songs for the People” by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper.

After the first two rounds of all 18 finalists, the top five competitors with the highest scores entered the third and final round to compete for the chance to represent New York State in the national finals. Making it into the final round of five is a huge honor and accomplishment for Anadia.

This was the third year Anadia participated in Poetry Out Loud. She placed first in the school competition during her sophomore year and then third in her junior year before returning to first place in 2024. Each year, she selects new poems to challenge herself and reflect her changing interests. English teacher and school Poetry Out Loud coordinator Matt Phillips has tremendous respect for Anadia. “She’s a rare gem,” he says. “Anadia perfectly combines a strong love and appreciation for poetry and language with confident stage presence and a natural gift for recitation. I’m so proud, but hardly surprised, that she had such a strong showing at the state competition.”

Congratulations Anadia!