University News

800 Middle and High School Student Poets to Compete in William Paterson University’s 30th Annual Foreign Language Poetry Contest on May 16

A love of poetry and the thrill of competition will once again be center stage, as 800 enthusiastic young voices can be heard reciting poems in different languages at William Paterson University on May 16th during the annual competition on the campus in Wayne. This event brings together middle and high school student poets from 50 schools to compete in eight different languages.

The 30th Annual Orlando Saa Foreign Language Poetry Recitation Contest will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the University Commons Ballrooms. Students from 50 schools from northern and central New Jersey are expected to participate.

Students recite poetry in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Spanish, and ESL. Each student is given a foreign language poem to memorize four months before the contest so they are ready to compete. Professors from the University’s Department of Languages and Cultures select the poems, and act as judges for the competition.

The levels challenged will be beginner, intermediate, advanced, and native (except for Latin and ESL). Trophies are awarded to winning students in first, second, and third place. Fourth place winners receive a medal for honorable mention. All students are given a certificate of participation.

The competition dovetails with the University’s support of the importance of language learning. "At William Paterson University, we believe strongly in the value of language learning, not only for students' eventual ability to compete in a global economy, but just as importantly for their cognitive development and cultural awareness,” says Kara Rabbitt, dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “We are very proud of the on-going efforts of the Department of Languages and Cultures to foster awareness and an appreciation of world languages in younger students in the region."

The contest is sponsored by William Paterson University’s Department of Languages and Cultures. If interested in covering the event, call Phillip Sprayberry, media relations coordinator, at 973-720-2965.