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Ottsville academy hosts declamation contest


A recent competitive declamation (poetry and oration) event, among the four locations of a private school, was more than just a great experience for students.

“It was so elevating to be there; to see what they could do at such a young age,” said Cathy Capozzi, a science teacher The Regina Academy at St. John the Baptist in Ottsville who was part of the organizing committee.

The Ottsville unit of the pre-K through eighth grade Regina Academies, which are dedicated to classical Christian education, hosted its counterparts Regina Luminis, Regina Coeli, and Regina Angelorum on a Friday morning last month. Teachers and administrators served as judges as third- and fourth-graders performed rhyming poems; fifth- and sixth-graders recited “prose” (non-rhyming poems); and seventh- and eighth-graders did orations, from sources including John F. Kennedy, Patrick Henry and Pope John Paul II.

The Regina Academies were started in 2003, primarily by the Henkels family of Philadelphia, and are dedicated to classical Catholic education, including teaching Latin. The Ottsville academy joined in the 2012-13 school year, as a means of keeping its doors open. Curriculum categories include history, literature, religion, math, English, nature studies and Latin.

“The classical approach includes using teaching techniques such as the Socratic Circle,” said John Mundy, the headmaster at Ottsville.

“Developing written and verbal communication skills are a special focus, and our students are well equipped to enter any type of high school.”

“The pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty are at the center of the experience,” added Amy Mattle, the director of admissions, “and developing analytical and critical thinking skills are done through that lens.”

In the regional declamation competition, the Ottsville academy’s Carmella DeVenuto won second place in the third- and fourth-grade poetry part; Paige Mattle placed second in the fifth- and sixth-grade prose; and Emil Saab won a third place in the seventh- and eighth-grade oration.