Tacoma hosts young poets March 5 for state competition

A dozen students from Washington high schools will compete in Tacoma on Sat., March 5 in the State Finals for “Poetry Out Loud,” a national poetry recitation contest. The competition will be held at the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, Theatre on the Square, from 1 to 5 pm.

Poetry Out Loud, a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry, is sponsored by the Washington State Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the Poetry Foundation. More than 363,000 students across the country participated this year.

The Washington state finals will feature 12 high school students who were selected from regional finals held in Benton, Clark, Pierce, Skagit, Spokane, and Yakima counties. They will be reciting works they selected from an anthology of more than 500 classic and contemporary poems. Through three rounds of poetry recitations, they will be competing for one slot at the National Finals. The winner of the state final will receive $200, and the winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The second place finalist will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. The state champion will receive an all-expenses-paid trip (with a chaperone) to compete in the National Finals in Washington, DC, on April 27-29, 2011. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals will award a total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends, with a $20,000 college scholarship for the National Champion.

The twelve students participating in the 2011 Poetry Out Loud State Finals are Randi Beardslee (Tenino High School); Bonnie Blanchard (West Valley High School); Mikayla Botsford (Graham Kapowsin High School); Will Hamel (Stadium High School); Rika Inouye (Shorewood High School); Chelsea Kupitz (Kamiakin High School); James Lee (Olympia High School); Thomas Lile (Coupeville High School); Micah Meadowcroft (Cedar Tree Classical Christian School); Samantha Tichota (Stanwood High School); Anna Ulmer (Naches Valley High School); and Langston Ward (Mead High School)

Presented by the Washington State Arts Commission, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation. Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation is honored to provide travel support for regional and state finals of Poetry Out Loud in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Poetry Out Loud is supported through regional partnerships with Columbia Basin College, Eastern Washington University, Allied Arts of Yakima Valley, New Blue Parrot Productions, and Educational Service District 189.

The Poetry Out Loud State Finals are free and open to the public. Visit http://www.poetryoutloud.org for more information on this national program or visit http://www.arts.wa.gov to learn more about the local competition.