PROVIDENCE — St. Patrick Academy is ensuring students continue challenging themselves and going outside of their comfort zones through statewide competitions. Each year, students in grades 9-12 compete in Poetry Out Loud, a national poetry competition in which students in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and all U.S. territories memorize and recite a poem. Class winners then compete schoolwide, and the schoolwide winner then moves on to the state-level competition.
Mrs. Summers and Mrs. Nealon, St. Patrick Academy’s English teachers, did not let COVID-19 stop them from competing this year, with students reciting their poems live via a virtual meeting. The first round was by grade and showed strong competition. The winners per grade were Bianca Bautista, freshman; Gabriella Rojas, sophomore; Leanne Gomes and Chasterin Peralta, juniors; and Keith Wilson and Sofia Dela Cruz, seniors. The six grade-level winners were then required to memorize and recite two more poems and were judged by an outside panel of experts. Bautista won the schoolwide competition, and in addition, she is the first-ever freshman to win schoolwide.
Ten Rhode Island schools sent a student to compete at the state level this year. Of those ten schools, five contestants advanced to the state finals, including Bautista. She recited her third poem on Sunday, March 21 for a new panel of judges for the statewide competition, earning a silver medal and receiving a cash prize for herself and another for the St. Patrick Academy library to purchase poetry books.