Tyrone Junior Places Fourth in State Poetry Out Loud Competition


Todd Cammarata

Tyrone Junior Mario Grugan has qualified for the state finals of the NEA’s Poetry Out Loud Contest.

Last March TAHS junior Mario Grugan and his mom Pam traveled to Harrisburg to watch the live Poetry Out Loud State Finals. This March Grugan participated in the pre-recorded event and placed fourth in the state.

“It’s nice to know that out of 1,000 participants in 75 schools, I scored in the top five,” Grugan said.

Braydon Daniels

The State Champ and runner-up were announced via Facebook Live at noon on Monday, March 8. Grugan, his coaches, and teammates gathered in the Eagle Eye newsroom to watch the event.

Taha Vahanvaty, a senior from Stroudsburg Area School District in Monroe County, won. He will represent Pennsylvania in the virtual National Finals beginning on May 2, 2021.

“It was cool to see a Tyrone student in the top five,” sophomore Speech Team member and local POL competitor Laci Daniel said.

According to the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts March 8 press release, “…Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.”

Each student memorized and prepared three poems selected from print and online poetry anthologies. All 13 students performed in the first two rounds of competition, with the top five going on to compete in the third and final round.

Students were judged on voice and articulation, physical presence, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, overall performance and accuracy.”

“I was really impressed by Mario’s abilities,” Todd Cammarata, Eagle Eye advisor, said. “I’d like to see more [Tyrone] students participate [in the local contest] next year.”

Cammarata helped Grugan make his three recordings for both the regional and state competitions.

“It was good timing,” he said. “We were trying to improve Eagle Eye video production. Making a quality recording was a challenge, but we succeeded, and we learned a lot.”

Tyrone’s local competition will take place in early January 2022. Students can start preparing as early as September 2021 when the POL collection is updated. More information can be found on the POL website or by contacting Leah Deskevich or Gabrielle McLarren, TAHS Speech Team co-advisors.