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Meriden girls receive international recognition for poetry recitation

Priyanka Thanigasalam, Arianna Li and Emily Yang

Meriden Senior School students have been recognised for their poetry reciting skills in French and Chinese, winning four first-place prizes in the international Poésiae Poetry Recitation Competition this year.

This competition was first established in the UK and then, as the pandemic hit, became an online international competition. This year over 250 schools from six continents were involved, with 1347 entries in total. The competition aims to foster a love of learning and speaking foreign languages.

Meriden’s Language Department supported a large number of students from Years 9 to 12 to submit an entry in this competition, and the top three students in each year group were then invited to submit an entry into the global round.

Meriden girls performed outstandingly well, receiving the following results in the competition in both French and Chinese:


Year 9 First Prize: Emily Yang for her recitation of Le poisson Fa, by Boby Lapointe

Highly Commended: Priyanka Thanigasalam for her recitation of Liberté, by Maurice Carême

Year 10 First Prize: Jodhi Kanthan for her recitation of Le poisson Fa, by Boby Lapointe


Year 11 First Prize: Arianna Li for her recitation of 回答 (Answer), by Bei Dao

Year 12 First Frize: Ailinna Zhang for her recitation of 你想做人鱼吗 (Would you like to be a mermaid?), by Guangzhong Yu

Participating students chose a foreign language poem to record themselves reciting aloud. Poetry recitation is an important component of learning in both French and Chinese and is culturally significant. A major focus of the competition is an emphasis on the use of voice, tone and pace, as well as the effective communication of the poem using gesture, expression and even music to add to its meaning.

Emily Yang, Year 9, said “The teachers had recordings of the poems so we could hear the correct pronunciation. We went home and repeated the poems, recording ourselves to show our teachers so they could correct our pronunciation before we recorded the final video submission.”

Priyanka Thanigasalam, Year 9, said “It was a fun process, especially having the teacher helping us learn new words.”

“It was surprising to learn we won an international prize. However, we put in a lot of effort in preparing for the poem,” said Arianna Li, Year 11.

Meriden’s Head of Languages, Mrs Françoise Reeves-Smith, said “The competition is a wonderful demonstration of not only linguistic skill, but also the Lateral Learning skill of effective oral communication. All students found the competition both enjoyable and challenging and it provided a wonderful introduction to some well-known poets and poems from their relevant language.”

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