AUBURN — The Poetry Out Loud competition was held on Jan. 5 at Saint Dominic Academy. Eleven students in grades 9-12 competed in two rounds of judged poetry recitation. The competition winner was Ellen Tuttle, a sophomore, of Warren, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Tuttle; the runner up was Melissa Ulin, a senior, of Auburn, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Roy Ulin. Tuttle will move on to the Southern Maine Regional competition, sponsored by the Maine Arts Commission, on Feb. 8 in Biddeford.

Other contestants were Sarah Divello, Justin Cruz, Darby Frost, Jake Vining, Alaina Dyer, Liza Gaylord, Ray Mosca, Jessica Boulet and Olivia Mayo. All of these students performed excellently, making it to this level by winning classroom and grade level competitions.

Judges for the competition were Rosanne Ducey, a longstanding member of the St. Dom’s faculty; Emily Swartz, an English teacher and writer; and Carolyne DeBlois, a theater student at the University of Southern California. Marty Bressler and Kathy Brush served as accuracy judge and score tabulator, respectively; both are faculty members at St. Dom’s.

Emcees for the event were seniors Nick Lurz and Patrick Lachance. Principal Don Fournier welcomed the attendees and presented the winners with their awards. Attendees were entertained by the comedic stylings of Lurz and Lachance, including a skit featuring Justin Valesquez and David Dean.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with the Maine Arts Commission on Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, which helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. The Maine State Finals will be held on March 23 at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston; Maine’s winner will travel to Washington, D.C., to compete in the National Finals in May.