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Jason Rapp

Fourth time a charm for new S.C. Poetry Out Loud champion

Persistence rewarded in final attempt

for immediate release 22 May 2020

COLUMBIA, S.C. – She earned her way to the state finals every year of her high school career and in the fourth and final attempt, the payoff finally arrived for a Lancaster student.

Judges selected Andrew Jackson High School senior Taylor Wade as state finals competition champion in the national recitation contest Poetry Out Loud, administered in South Carolina by the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC). Seven other South Carolina high school students competed with Wade in a virtual state finals. The annual competition was scheduled to be held in Columbia on March 14, but was canceled by the SCAC to conform with guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bonita Peeples, Poetry Out Loud coordinator for the SCAC, arranged for a virtual competition. The eight finalists sent videos to be reviewed by the judges: Paul Kaufmann, Darion McCloud, Kimberly Simms, and Dr. Nancy D. Tolson. Wade recited “Dead Butterfly” by Ellen Bass and Edgar Allan Poe’s “Israfel” in preliminary rounds. She and two other students advanced to the final round, where she recited “Adam’s Curse” by William Butler Years and received the four judges’ highest score. In a typical year, Wade would have joined finalists from the other 49 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico in Washington to compete for a $20,000 cash prize at the national finals. In lieu of that competition, the champion of each state that held or will hold a state finals will receive a $1,000 prize. In states where the finals were canceled, the state arts agency will receive $1,000 to either award to a state champion named at a later date or divide among the students who advanced to the state finals.

About Poetry Out Loud

Now in its 14th 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 in 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach nearly 3.8 million students and 60,000 teachers from 16,000 schools in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information, visit PoetryOutLoud.org.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

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 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 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 SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

Artist, students creating a legacy with sculpture at Indian Land school

Harrisburg Elementary School in Lancaster County received a $10,155 Arts in Basic Curriculum Advancement grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission. These grants support ongoing comprehensive planning, strategic projects and implementation of standards-based arts education initiatives. Find out more about the ABC Project. From the The Fort Mill Times Article and photos by Stephanie Marks Martell

Bob Doster at Harrisburg ElementaryHarrisburg Elementary is the latest school in Lancaster County School District to create its own unique legacy sculpture with local artist Bob Doster, who has been working with schools and students since the 1970s. Approximately 150 fifth graders each drew a self portrait on steel. Doster helped them use a plasma cutter to finish the pieces. He will assemble the individual portraits into the final piece, which will be displayed in front of the school. The sculpture is designed to be cumulative, with the option for future students to add onto it in coming years. The project was funded through a state Arts in Basic Curriculum grant. This is Harrisburg Elementary’s first year receiving the grant, which will also be used for professional development for teachers and a puppet show, says Harrisburg Elementary art teacher Melissa Hinson. “All of our schools have worked with Bob,” said Hinson, who first met Doster at a pottery demonstration at Beaufort Elementary. “He does a good job. He’s always willing to be a teacher,” Hinson said. “Bob’s been around students so long now, he’s good at knowing what to say. He knows that this is new to them and it’s great to see that patience modeled.” doster_harrisburg_elem-9164Harrisburg Elementary third grade teacher Jennifer Galbraith recalls working on a project with Doster to create a bench nearly 20 years ago when she was a student at North Elementary in Lancaster. “I remember it was really cool that my bench was there when I was teaching there,” Galbraith said. “A lot of our teachers have been students under him at some point. I run into them all over the state,” Hinson said. “I just wanted the students to meet him. I’m always a big fan of children using materials they wouldn’t normally use. When again are they going to use a plasma cutter? Probably never. They were all terrified, and then they walked away saying, ‘That was great.’”