State finals of ‘Poetry Out Loud’ competition set

Regional competitions yield eight finalists for March 9 finals

Poetry Out Loud

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Eight South Carolina high school students reached the March 9 state finals for Poetry Out Loud – an annual, nationwide recitation contest – after regional competitions in Charleston and Spartanburg.

The S.C. Arts Commission (SCAC) coordinates Poetry Out Loud in South Carolina, partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to bring the competition to state high schools. In the 2018/2019 school year, around 3,100 students from 17 schools in 10 counties participated. School competition winners competed against students in their region to move on to the state finals.

The following eight regional finalists will compete on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at the Richland Library Main Branch in Columbia from 3-5 p.m.:

  • Madalin Shaye Baker (Landrum High School in Landrum)
  • Francis Paul Boscia (Spartanburg Day School in Spartanburg)
  • Lyrical Dream Gist (Boiling Springs High School in Boiling Springs)
  • Brynne Hardman (Academy for the Arts, Science, and Technology in Myrtle Beach)
  • Alliyah Jeter (Dorman High School in Roebuck)
  • Sha’Kaila Stewart (Whale Branch Early College High School in Seabrook)
  • Charles Stone Hideshi Urashima (First Baptist School in Charleston)
  • Millie Welbourn (Ashley Hall in Charleston)

This event is free and open to the public. The winner of the state finals will represent South Carolina in the national finals April 29-May 1, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

State winners receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the national finals, and the state winner’s school will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. Each state’s first runner-up, and that student’s school, receives a cash prize as well. The national winner receives a $20,000 cash prize. Last year, South Carolina winner Janae Claxton of First Baptist School in Charleston became the first national champion from the Palmetto State.


Now in its 13th year, Poetry Out Loud helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in 2005, Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with the State arts agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Poetry Out Loud offers more than $100,000 is prizes and school stipends each year. It provides free teacher resources and a comprehensive website with a large anthology of classic and contemporary poems, audio and video clips, as well as complete contest information.

Since its establishment, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach nearly 3.5 million students and 50,000 teachers from 10,000 schools across the country. For more information, visit


With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians.

Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants, and leadership initiatives in three areas:

  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.

Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit or call 803.734.8696.