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Commonwealth Interfaith Service / Poetry Out Loud state champion

Written by Merideth Bucher, Producer | Apr 26, 2019 4:19 AM


What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, April 26, 2019:

The Hadee Mosque in Harrisburg will host a unique gathering of individuals on Monday.  

Congregants representing numerous religious ideologies in the mid-state will join to offer prayers for justice and peace.  

This is the 11th annual Commonwealth Interfaith Service, which provides an opportunity for participants to raise a "collective voice for a more just and peaceful world."  

Organizers stress that all denominations are welcome, and each group is invited to offer a prayer from their own tradition focusing on justice and peace 

Appearing on Smart Talk to discuss the prayer service are Rev. Sandy Strauss, Director of Advocacy & Ecumenical Outreach, Pennsylvania Council of ChurchesAaysha Noor, Social Justice advocate, & Interfaith Chairperson/Organizer, Islamic Society of Greater Harrisburg and Jenn Ross, President & CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg. 

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Sandy Straus, Aaysha Noor, and Jenn Ross

Also, the 2019 Pennsylvania Poetry Out Loud state champion competes next week in the national contest in Washington, D.C. The competition will be available through a live, one-time-only webcast at

Jordan Marie Lewis is a Hershey High School sophomore who competed against nearly 5,700 students and, eventually, 15 state regional finalists to earn the top spot. There were 118 commonwealth schools in this year's competition. The competitors select three poems from the Poetry Out Loud anthology.

Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance and competition.  

Joining Smart Talk to highlight this unique contest are Jordan Marie Lewis, Pennsylvania Poetry Out Loud champion, Gayle Gluck, state coordinator for Poetry Out Loud, and Colette Silvestri, teacher and Poetry Out Loud coach, Hershey High School.   

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Jordan Marie Lewis, Colette Silvestri, and Gayle Gluck

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Jordan Marie Lewis, Pennsylvania Poetry Out Loud state champion, recited "I Sit and Sew," by Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson, 1918.




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