Poetry Out Loud finalists advance to state competition

The South Carolina Arts Commission congratulates the finalists in the state’s 2014-2015 Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. All nine students advance to the March 14 state finals to compete for South Carolina’s spot in the POL national finals and a shot at a $20,000 scholarship.

Region 1: Upstate

  • Jamie Montagne, Spartanburg Day School, Spartanburg County
  • Josh Mugabe, York Preparatory Academy, York County
  • Nora Grace Smith, Spartanburg High School, Spartanburg County

Region 2 studentsRegion 2: Midlands (participants and teachers pictured right)

  • Blythe Catherine Weddle, Fox Creek High School, Edgefield County
  • Dasha Miller, Westwood High School, Richland County
  • Gretchen LeGrand, Aiken High School, Aiken County

Region 3: Lowcountry

  • Autumn Smith, Goose Creek High School, Berkeley County
  • Natalie Myers, Scholars Academy, Horry County
  • Amani Huell, Waccamaw High School, Horry County

Students advanced from school-wide competitions to one of three regional competitions held in Spartanburg, Blythewood and Charleston Jan. 24-25. The state finals will be held March 14 at the Columbia Museum of Art, and the state champion will compete in the national finals April 28-29 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.

Created in 2005 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is celebrating 10 years of encouraging the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. 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, Bravo Blythewood and the University of South Carolina Sumter – Division of Arts and Letters in Region 2, and the College of Charleston School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts in Region 3.

For more, contact Frances Kablick Keel at FMKablick@arts.sc.gov.