MMI Preparatory School senior Andrew Decker won the regional Poetry Out Loud competition at the WVIA-TV studios and will advance to the Pennsylvania state championships on March 4, 2019, in Harrisburg.

Decker, the son of Atty. Elizabeth and Troy Topolski of Sugarloaf and Aaron Decker of Kingston, won MMI’s school competition for the fourth consecutive year. He previously won the regional championship as a sophomore and finished in the top five in the state competition that year. Decker has placed in the top three at regionals each of the past four years, having finished second as a freshman and third as a junior.

During the regional competition, which was held under the direction of Arts in Education of Northeastern Pennsylvania and Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit 19, Decker faced students from throughout Luzerne, Lackawanna, northwestern Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, and eastern Wyoming counties. MMI English instructor Jennifer Novotney served as the Poetry Out Loud advisor.

The regional event will be televised in April on WVIA-TV as part of the station’s National Poetry Month celebration.

For the state championships, Decker will memorize and recite three poems. Final rankings will be based solely on evaluation sheets submitted by judges and take into consideration a student’s physical presence, voice and articulation, and their performance and comprehension of the poems. State champions will advance to the national semifinals and finals, which will be held April 30 and May 1 at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

The Poetry Out Loud program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than
3 million students and 50,000 teachers from 10,000 schools in every state, Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.


CAPTION: MMI senior Andrew Decker captured the regional Poetry Out Loud competition and will advance to the state championship, which will be held in March in Harrisburg. Pictured with Decker is MMI English instrutor and Poetry Out Loud advisor Jennifer Novotney.