Shea Holovac represented Sparta High School at Poetry Out Loud New Jersey 2019.
Sparta - Sophomore Shea Holovacs represented Sparta High School at the Region 4 Poetry Out Loud competition on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019, at the Mayo Performing Arts Center. Shea was a top ten finalist among students from school districts in Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Warren, and Sussex counties. Shea performed the following poems: “All This and More” by Mary Karr. “Abandoned Farmhouse” by Ted Kooser. “April Love” by Ernest Dowson. Unfortunately, only the top two finishers in each of six regions will move to the state finals. So that’s it, this year, said Sparta School District English Supervisor Mary Hassenplug. "However, because Shea is only a sophomore, we are hoping she will participate again next year,” she said. “Shea earned the opportunity to rep¬¬resent Sparta after winning the school level competition in which 17 students participated.” She said that in large part, the school and students have Mr. Rivers to thank because he served as a mentor and coach as students prepared for Poetry Out Loud. "He exposed students to poetry that was new to them and helped them to prepare recitations that captured the essence of the poem's meaning," she said. Rivers said a sense of self-empowerment is key. "Shea was so bold with her choices and she became a real leader in our class," he said. "The process works best when students feel empowered to connect to the poetry, and Shea’s willingness to really interpret poems helped other students to own their own work. I’m very proud of her, and I can’t wait to see what she does next year. Most of the other contestants at the regional competition were surprised to find out that Shea is a sophomore, and their surprise speaks to her confidence and courage on stage."