Hawthorne High School Students Recite Poetry

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Students at 30th Annual Orlando Saa Foreign Language Poetry Recitation Contest at William Paterson University

Nina Nadirashvili

Almost 700 students from schools all over New Jersey, including a group from Hawthorne High School, took part in 30th Annual Orlando Saa Foreign Language Poetry Recitation Contest at William Paterson University (WPU) on May 16, 2013. HHS students included Jessica Chamberlin, Samantha Contrini, Stefanie Hauser, Jeton Hida, Nina Nadirashvili, Leonardo Paladino and Ammy Pena, who were accompanied on the trip by Italian teacher Karen McSherry and Spanish teacher Karina Rivas.

According to William Paterson University’s online site WPUNJ.edu, the 60 schools present presented works in nine languages – Chinese, French, German, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish. Pena, who recited Spanish in the Native category, stated, “To be able to meet new people and see different cultures come together… was my favorite part of the whole day.”

HHS students competed in Spanish and Italian.  Each group recited and was judged by volunteer faculty and area teachers specializing in that specific language. The criteria for judging the recitation of the poem were: delivery, pronunciation, intonation and poise. Four people from each category were awarded a trophy, while every student was given a certificate for participating. Leonardo Paladino, a junior at HHS, received honorable mention in his category of Native Italian and was given a medal.

The program, which is sponsored by the Department of Languages and Culture at WPU, was named after Orlando Saa, who was a professor at the university for 36 years, according to Jay Levin’s article on NorthJersey.com, the online site for The Record.

Chamberlin said that “the trip was a great experience” for all of the HHS students. Hauser added, “Something like this gives me more confidence with public speaking and I would love to do something like this again.”