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Poetry Festival at Sparta High School

The Alternative Press Staff

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 • 12:05am

SPARTA, NJ - The Sparta High School Media Resource Center played host to a Poetry Festival celebrating National Poetry Month on Wednesday.

Organized by Media Specialist Mary Ann Hyland, the festival was an opportunity for students and staff to listen to readings of favorite poems written by both published authors and the students themselves.  Over the course of the day, several hundred students attended the event with their English classes and shared in their love for the written word. 

Several special guests participate in the program this year. Assemblywoman Alison Littel McHose read a poem by Maya Angelou as well as one of her own poems, inspired by the sacrifice of our soldiers. 

Two of the guests were from the Sparta Public Library. Peggy Lami, children’s coordinator at the Sparta Public Library, shared her favorite children’s poems.  Brian Doherty, president of the Sparta Library Board of Trustees and former English Department supervisor at Sparta High School, also shared his love of poetry.  During the Festival, a library card drive was held to encourage high school students to sign up for a Sparta library card. 

Mary Ann Hyland, retiring after 16 years as the Media Specialist at Sparta  High School, has established a tradition with the Poetry Festival.

 According to English Supervisor Mary Hassenplug, “Today was an inspiring day as students gave voice to poems from writers ranging from William Shakespeare to Robert Frost to Nikki Giovanni.  The poems dealt with the universal issues of love, loss, fear, and happiness, all emotions that teenagers explore on a daily basis.  Hopefully today helped them to see that poetry—even that written hundreds of years ago--can offer a way to express and explore these contemporary feelings.”

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