Poetry Friday: Grateful for A Wonderful School Year

Posted on by Michele Russo, Associate Director

Photo: Frank Veronsky

As the school year comes to an end, we want to thank the teachers and faculty who make our High School programs a success. They do a great deal of legwork to enrich their students’ education with a live poetry event. Despite their already heavy workload, they schedule the classroom visits and readings and coordinate all the logistical needs for the day. They copy our materials and share them with other teachers and students so that everyone is well-prepared for our visits. They model curiosity and enthusiasm in the classroom. They do activities before and after the event so that the students’ experience is deepened and broadened. They take responsibility for their school’s completion of evaluations and assessments. They take care of many other small details behind the scenes so that everything runs smoothly. Especially this year when the demands of testing were so great, we are so grateful for their efforts and for their enduring commitment to poetry.

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Photo: Laura DeSantis-Olsson

We also want to thank the Dodge Poets who work in our High School programs. Our poets walk into a room of perfect strangers and do their best to ignite the imagination of each and every student, regardless of how each student feels about poetry. Some students may already love poetry and be open to the experience while others may have long ago decided that poetry is “not my thing.” By connecting directly to students in classroom discussions and readings, poets make it possible for students to develop their relationship to poetry and to have a personal connection with poems. We can’t thank them enough for the creativity and compassion they bring to this work.

Since the 2014 Dodge Poetry Festival in October, our poets have met with almost 4,000 students. The photos in this blog share a few moments we captured. We could not have done it without the following individuals:

Arts High School, Newark

Robert Richardson, Art Teacher
Dodge Poet:  Khalil Murrell

Bloomfield High School, Bloomfield

Michael DiMasi, English Teacher
Dodge Poet:  Khalil Murrell

Cumberland Regional High School, Bridgeton

Bob Evans, English Teacher
Dodge Poet: Khalil Murrell

Dickinson High School, Jersey City

Rosa Bayas, English Teacher
Dodge Poet: Vincent Toro

East Brunswick High School, East Brunswick

Megan Manetta, English Department Chair
Laura Strachan, English Teacher
Dodge Poets: Grisel Acosta, Michael Cirelli, Safia Jama, John McDermott, Peter Murphy, Christine Salvatore, Vincent Toro, BJ Ward

Holmdel High School, Holmdel

Margaret McDonald, English Teacher
Marilyn Bellis, Supervisor of Humanities
Dodge Poets: Emari DiGiorgio, Maria Gillan, Charles Johnson, Gretna Wilkinson

The Hudson School, Hoboken

Suellen Newman, Founder and Director
Dodge Poet: BJ Ward

Jackson High School, Jackson

Dyanne Leopold, English Teacher
Dodge Poet: Gretna Wilkinson

Madison High School, Madison

Anne Wessel Dwyer, English Teacher
Dodge Poets:  Michael Cirelli, Cat Doty, James Hoch. Visiting poets: Josh Humphries, Yesenia Montilla

North Star Charter Academy High School, Newark

Michael Taubman, English Teacher
Matthew McCluskey, English Teacher
Dodge Poets:  Michael Cirelli, Maria Gillan, Vincent Toro, Joe Weil, Gretna Wilkinson

Orange High School, Orange

Francis Barken, Language Arts Teacher
Dodge Poet: Khalil Murrell

Seneca High School, Tabernacle

John Bowden, Assistant Principal
Mike Manna, English Teacher
Dodge Poets: Charles Johnson, John McDermott, Peter Murphy, Christine Salvatore, Gretna Wilkinson, Paul-Victor Winters

Trenton Foundation Academy

Sonia Elliott, Director of External Affairs
Erin Gallagher, English & Language Arts Teacher
Dodge Poet: Khalil Murrell

University Academy Charter School, Jersey City

Gina DiRenzi, English Teacher
Susan Chenelle, English Teacher
Dodge Poet: Vincent Toro

Voorhees High School, Glen Gardner

Richard Broan, English Supervisor
Bonnie Beneszewski, English Teacher
Dodge Poets: Michael Cirelli, Lois Harrod, Vasiliki Katsarou, Joe Weil, Paul Victor-Winters




Photo: Lauren Rutten


Dodge Poets (L-R) John McDermott, Charles Johnson, Gretna Wilkinson, Christine Salvatore, Peter Murphy and Paul-Victor Winters. Photo: Frank Veronsky


Photo: Laura DeSantis-Olsson


Photo: Frank Veronsky


Photo: Lauren Rutten


Photo: Laura DeSantis-Olsson




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