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Eight competitors reach S.C. Poetry Out Loud finals

State finals to be held virtually March 5


for immediate release

COLUMBIA, S.C. – From among statewide submissions, judges selected eight finalists who now have a chance to represent South Carolina this spring in the national finals of Poetry Out Loud—an annual, nationwide recitation contest.

The South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) coordinates Poetry Out Loud South Carolina (POLSC), partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to bring the competition to the state’s high schools. The program seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry—recitation and performance. POLSC Coordinator Bonita Peeples once again arranged a 2021/2022 competition with a virtual structure. The first step, now complete, was inviting students in grades 9-12 to submit videos to twin regional competitions, each with its own set of different judges. Both regionals yielded four finalists to compete in the competition’s next step: virtual state finals on Saturday, March 5, 2022. The eight finalists come from four schools in Charleston, Greenville, and Spartanburg. Students from Region 1, roughly the lower half of the state, all come from Charleston County School of the Arts. They are:
  • Tea Allen
  • Kenneth Carrington
  • Natalie Holland
  • Adam Maierle
Finalists from Region 2, which is roughly the upper half of the state, represent three schools. The students are:
  • Emily Allison, 2021 state champion (Fine Arts Center of Greenville)
  • Harper Scott (Fine Arts Center of Greenville)
  • Catherine Wooten (Westgate Christian School of Spartanburg)
  • Caleb Xiao, 2021 first runner-up (Spartanburg Day School in Boiling Springs)
Adjudicating the virtual finals will be veteran Poetry Out Loud judges Al Black, Dr. Ray McManus, Michelle Reese, and Kimberly J. Simms. Each is an accomplished poet residing in South Carolina dedicated to training the next generation of poets. Each finalist will meet virtually to record three one-take recitations with Peeples and a prompter. The judges will review the recitations and determine a state champion and first runner-up. The state finals champion will receive a $200 prize and get to represent South Carolina in the national finals competition for the chance to win a $20,000 first prize. Cancelled in 2020 with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the national finals returned virtually in 2021 and will be virtual again in 2022. Find out more about the national competition here.
About the South Carolina Arts Commission The mission of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is to promote equitable access to the arts and support the cultivation of creativity in South Carolina. We envision a South Carolina where the arts are valued and all people benefit from a variety of creative experiences. A state agency created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the SCAC works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in four areas: arts learning, community and traditional arts, artist development, and arts industry. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the SCAC is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts, and other sources. Visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696, and follow @scartscomm on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for #Arts4SC and #SCartists content.
South Carolina Arts Commission News Release. Media Contact: Jason L. Rapp, Communications Director. jrapp@arts.sc.gov or 803.734.8899.

Jason Rapp

Greenville 9th grader is S.C. Poetry Out Loud champ

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


COLUMBIA, S.C. – Greenville High School 9th grade student Emily Allison is the 2021 South Carolina Poetry Out Loud champion after winning the annual recitation contest’s first virtual competition. [caption id="attachment_46626" align="alignright" width="200"]Headshot of Emily Allison, blonde female student with green eyes wearing a deep magenta sleeveless top. Emily Allison[/caption] Allison’s body of work earned her first prize over seven other finalists in her first experience with the competition. In lieu of the usual in-person state final competition, each finalist was recorded reciting three poems via a video conference with Poetry Out Loud State Coordinator Bonita Peeples and prompter Thomas Maluck, teen services librarian for Richland Library. The videos were sent to the four judges and an accuracy judge. After two rounds of evaluation, the top three scorers proceeded to the final round. They were: Allison; Teagan Domm, a junior at Academy Magnet High School in Charleston; and Caleb Xiao, sophomore at Spartanburg Day School who was first runner-up. The South Carolina 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 the state’s high schools. Poetry Out Loud looked different in the 2020/2021 school year out of necessity. Peeples arranged a competition with a different structure for students in grades 9-12. Participants across the state submitted videos that were judged in twin regional competitions that yielded eight finalists, one of whom was Allison. As state winner, Allison will receive a $200 prize and get to represent South Carolina in the national finals competition for the chance to win the $20,000 first prize. The 2021 national finals will also be held virtually. A semi-final round is scheduled for Sunday, May 2 and the national finals will take place Thursday, May 27. Both will stream on arts.gov, website of the National Endowment for the Arts. Al Black, poet and arts advocate; Ray McManus, English professor at UofSC Sumter; Michele Reese, English professor at UofSC Sumter; Kimberly J. Simms, author and educator, served as judges. Each is an accomplished poet residing in South Carolina dedicated to training the next generation of poets. The SCAC’s Kevin Flarisee of Columbia was accuracy judge.

About Poetry Out Loud

Now in its 15th 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 in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa. 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 in 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than 4 million students and 65,000 teachers from 16,000 schools. For more information, visit PoetryOutLoud.org.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

The mission of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is to promote equitable access to the arts and support the cultivation of creativity in South Carolina. We envision a South Carolina where the arts are valued and all people benefit from a variety of creative experiences. A state agency created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the SCAC works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key areas: arts education, community arts development, and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the SCAC is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts, and other sources. Visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696, and follow @scartscomm on social media.

Jason Rapp

SCAC announces eight competitors for Poetry Out Loud state finals

Finalists from Aiken, Boiling Springs, Charleston, Greenville, & Myrtle Beach


COLUMBIA, S.C. – Eight South Carolina high school students will compete in the state finals for Poetry Out Loud—an annual, nationwide recitation contest—scheduled to be held virtually on March 6, 2021. 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 the state’s high schools. Rather than be completely upended like so much else in the 2020/2021 school year, Coordinator Bonita Peeples arranged a competition with a different structure. In lieu of class or school competitions, students in grades 9-12 were invited to submit videos to be judged in twin regional competitions. Both regionals yielded four finalists to compete on Saturday, March 6, 2021 in the virtual state finals:
  • Emily Allison (Greenville High School in Greenville)
  • Meenakshi Balachandran (Calvary Christian School in Myrtle Beach)
  • Simone Cory (James Island Charter School in Charleston)
  • Teagan Domm (Academic Magnet High School in Charleston)
  • Anna Matson (Aiken High School in Aiken)
  • Pagelyn Smalls (Charleston County School of the Arts in Charleston)
  • Caleb Xiao (Spartanburg Day School in Boiling Springs)
  • Jazmine Vivas Young (Charleston County School of the Arts in Charleston)
Adjudicating the virtual finals will be veteran Poetry Out Loud judges Al Black, Ray McManus, Michelle Reese, and Kimberly J. Simms. Each is an accomplished poet residing in South Carolina dedicated to training the next generation of poets. The winner of the state finals will receive a $200 prize and get to represent South Carolina in the national finals competition for the chance to win a $20,000 first prize. Cancelled last year in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset, the 202 national finals will be held but virtually. Find out more about the national competition here.

Correction

The initial version of this post incorrectly identified Academic Magnet High School in Charleston as "Academy" Magnet High School.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

The mission of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is to promote equitable access to the arts and support the cultivation of creativity in South Carolina. We envision a South Carolina where the arts are valued, and all people benefit from a variety of creative experiences. A state agency created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the SCAC works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key areas: arts education, community arts development, and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the SCAC is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts, and other sources. Visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696, and follow @scartscomm on social media.

Jason Rapp