Nine high schools students advancing to Poetry Out Loud state finals

Congratulations to the nine high school students who are advancing to the state finals in the South Carolina Arts Commission’s Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest! The students will compete for South Carolina’s spot in the Poetry Out Loud national finals and a shot at a $20,000 scholarship. State finals take place March 12 at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, S.C.

Poetry Out LoudRegion 1: Upstate

  • Jamie Montagne, Spartanburg Day School, Spartanburg County
  • Daniella Ramirez, Indian Land High School, Lancaster County
  • Wade Wright, South Pointe High School, York County

Region 2: Midlands

  • Destiny Lewis, Spring Valley High School, Richland County
  • Dasha Miller, Westwood High School, Richland County
  • Javonte Waters, Ridge View High School, Richland County

Region 3: Lowcountry

  • Janae Claxton, First Baptist Church School, Charleston County
  • Nicole Sadek, Charleston County School of the Arts, Charleston County
  • James Mayo, James Island Charter High School, Charleston County

Nearly 4,000 South Carolina students participated this year, advancing from school-wide competitions to one of three regional competitions held in Spartanburg, Blythewood and Charleston in January. The state champion will compete in the national finals May 2-4 in Washington, D.C.

The state champion receives $200, a $500 stipend to purchase poetry books for their school library, and an all-expense paid trip to the national finals. The runner-up receives $100 and a $200 poetry book stipend for their library.

Poetry Out Loud, a program created in 2005 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement. Students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage while gaining an appreciation of poetry. Last year more than 365,000 students nationwide competed. The winner received a $20,000 scholarship.

Statewide partners include the Columbia Museum of Art, the South Carolina Department of Education and South Carolina ETV Radio’s “Speaking of Schools” Program with Doug Keel. Regional partners include Hub City Writers Project in Region 1, the town of Blythewood and Bravo Blythewood in partnership with the University of South Carolina in Region 2, and the College of Charleston School of Humanities and Social Sciences in Region 3.

For more, contact Frances Kablick Keel at