High school poetry recitation competition showcases talent from across the Commonwealth.
Richmond, Va. - In mid-March, high school students from across Virginia gathered in Richmond to compete for the title of Poetry Out Loud state champion and the opportunity to represent Virginia at the national competition in May. The Community Idea Stations hosted and recorded the Virginia contest and is pleased to offer “Poetry Out Loud: The Virginia Finals” to viewers on April 11 at 9 p.m. on WCVE/WHTJ/WVPT PBS with an encore presentation on April 14 at 2 p.m.
Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization and performance. Participants each select a poem to recite from an anthology of over 800 contemporary and classical works. The competition utilizes a pyramid structure that begins at the classroom level, expands to a school-wide competition, then to a regional and/or state contest, and finally to the National Finals.
“Poetry Out Loud attracts students of various backgrounds and interests,” explains Casey Polczynski, Arts in Education Coordinator at the Virginia Commission for the Arts. “The program immerses students into the poetry experience, mastering public speaking skills, building self-confidence, and learning about their literary heritage.”
This year’s Virginia state champion was Katherine Nguyen, a ninth grade student from Colonial Forge High School in Stafford, Virginia. Katherine competed in front of a live studio audience along with nine other regional winners chosen from an original field of 7,800 students from across Virginia.
“Viewers can expect to be inspired by the poise, intelligence, and authenticity of these student performers,” says the competition’s emcee Alexandra Wiles. “Though I've now hosted the Virginia finals for the past four years, I still find myself on the edge of my seat, holding my breath, heart pounding as these young people captivate the audience with their recitations.”
Competitors at the 2019 Virginia State Finals of Poetry Out Loud included:
Katherine Nguyen (State Champion), Colonial Forge High School, Stafford
Zoree Jones (First Runner-up), Patriot High School, Nokesville
Sophia Skiavo (Second Runner-up), Chantilly High School, Chantilly
Collin Devlin, Tallwood High School, Virginia Beach
Gabriella Guirand, Norfolk Collegiate, Norfolk
Ivana Mensah-Agyekum, Harrisonburg High School, Harrisonburg
Mia Shenkman, Washington-Lee High School, Arlington
Joseph Whetzel, Broadway High School, Broadway
Marian Woodington, Appomattox Regional Governor's School, Petersburg
Allan Yoo, St. Catherine's School, Richmond