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Success for Josephine in Poetry by Heart national finals

Upper Sixth student Josephine Obeng is celebrating after being named as runner-up in the national finals of the Poetry by Heart competition.

Josephine, who is studying A Levels in English Literature, German and History, won the College contest, then took first place in the County round to get through to the national finals which were held over three days in March at Homerton College, Cambridge.

Success for Josephine in Poetry by Heart national finals | April 2015

She is the second student from Havering Sixth Form in consecutive years to have been successful in this competition – last year Fey Popoola was in the top 8 in the national finals.

The Poetry by Heart contest requires students to recite both classic and modern poetry from memory. Josephine recited Envy by Adelaide Anne Procter (pre-1914), Badly Chosen Lover (post-1914) and Song of the Mud by Mary Borden from the WW1 showcase collection.

She said: “Participating in the competition was what mattered most; I would have still enjoyed the experience regardless of the position I attained. The actual process of learning these poems and making them my own was challenging but also very rewarding. When I found out I had come second, I was completely shocked – happy, but shocked!”

She added: “My aim was to make people feel how I feel about these poems and hopefully I achieved this. I also had the opportunity to meet established poets who served as judges, which was awesome. All the contestants were great and I feel honoured to have been able to share this experience with them.”

Tutor Kathleen McBride said it was great to see Havering Sixth Form College becoming a recognised name in this very highly regarded competition.

She said: “Josephine was a worthy runner-up and did herself and the college proud, just as Fey did the year before.”