Teen to Represent Massachusetts in National Poetry Contest - NECN
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Teen to Represent Massachusetts in National Poetry Contest

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Rose-Darla Pascal, a Haiti native and high school sophomore in Randolph, Massachusetts, is representing the Bay State in the Poetry Out Loud competition.

    (Published Friday, March 24, 2017)

    Rose-Darla Pascal, a Massachusetts high school student originally from Haiti, is who's making poems come to life.

    Next month, the Randolph High School sophomore is competing at the national Poetry Out Loud competition, a national recitation contest that teaches students valuable lessons.

    "I'm not just reciting words off of a page," said Pascal. "I'm trying to understand it and put passion behind it."

    She conveyed that passion to a panel of judges, who selected her out of more than 23,000 Bay State students.

    "I owe it all to God I don't know how I'm here right now," said Pascal. "I was really surprised when I won."

    Hope Fernandes, the assistant principal for teaching and learning at Randolph High School, said when Pascal won, she didn't realize it.

    "Even when she was holding the cup in her hands, it hadn't set in," said Fernandes.

    Now, Pascal is off to Washington, D.C., for Poetry Out Loud nationals in April.

    "It teaches them confidence and poise and public speaking skills," said Fernandes. "It takes a level of confidence and skill to stand up in front of a large crowd and forget yourself."

    Although Pascal embodies the voice of the author and characters, she sees some of herself in the three poems she recites.

    "For 'Batter My Heart,' it talks about conflict that you have and how you are trying to be better even though you might be held back sometimes, which I relate to," said Pascal.

    Her coach, Lera Shawver, who's also an English teacher, said Pascal is captivating every time she performs.

    "I get emotional like this every time," Shawver said, fighting back tears. "She's such an amazing person. She does it with such poise and presence. It's inspiring to me."

    Pascal moved to the U.S. with her mother and older sister, to live with her dad. She reflects on her life and experiences when preparing a recitation.

    "There's so many things that play into who I am today. What I believe in, God, my family," said Pascal.

    Now, she can add poetry to the list.

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