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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.

Jason Rapp

S.C. Poetry Out Loud finals now canceled

For Immediate Release COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission is canceling the state finals of the Poetry Out Loud recitation competition scheduled for Saturday, March 14, 2020 in Columbia. Earlier this week, the event was altered to become a private event for the eight finalists, their chaperones and a teacher, and event staff. As a precaution to prevent any possible transmission of COVID-19, the agency made the difficult decision to cancel the annual event. The Poetry Out Loud state finals were scheduled to take place from 3-5 p.m. at the Richland Library Main location.


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.

Eight high school students reach S.C. Poetry Out Loud finals

State finals to be held March 14 in Columbia


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 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 2019/2020 school year, around 2,600 students from 21 schools in 12 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 14, 2020 at the Richland Library Main Branch in Columbia from 3-5 p.m.:
  • David Jones (Southside High School in Greenville)
  • Rowland Marshall (Wando High School in Charleston)
  • Anna Matson (Aiken High School in Aiken)
  • Jackson Penn (Academy for the Arts, Science, and Technology in Longs)
  • Emma Rose Radcliff (Waccamaw High School in Georgetown)
  • Carson Stehling (Charleston County School of the Arts in Charleston)
  • Taylor Wade (Andrew Jackson High School in Lancaster)
  • Emily Yi (Southside High School in Greenville)
This event is free and open to the public. The winner of the state finals will represent South Carolina in the national finals April 27-29, 2020 in Washington. 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.
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.

Myrtle Beach student wins S.C. Poetry Out Loud competition

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Brynne Hardman, a senior at the Academy for Arts, Science, and Technology in Myrtle Beach, is the South Carolina winner of Poetry Out Loud, a national poetry recitation contest. Hardman competed in the state finals competition in Columbia on Saturday, March 9 against seven other students from across South Carolina. The competition took place at the Richland Library Main branch. Hardman recited “To Have Without Holding” by Marge Piercy in round one and “Insomnia” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti in round two. She and two other students advanced to the final round, where she recited “The Day Lady Died” by Frank O’Hara and received the highest score from the four judges: Marcus Amaker, Al Black, Kimberly Simms, and Michele Reese. Dr. Ray McManus was host of the event. Amaker, poet laureate of Charleston; and Zuri Wilson-Seymore, the S.C. Arts Commission state coordinator for Poetry Out Loud; gave professional recitation performances of their own poetry. Joining state winners from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, Hardman will be South Carolina’s representative in the Poetry Out Loud national finals in Washington April 29-May 1, 2019. 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.


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 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 SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

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.
ABOUT POETRY OUT LOUD 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 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 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 SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.  

Janae Claxton is Poetry Out Loud national champ

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 26 April 2018

  • Janae Claxton of First Baptist Church School in Charleston wins in Washington
  • State’s first back-to-back champ adds national honors, $20,000 prize
WASHINGTON – Last night in Washington, a Charleston student became the first South Carolinian to win the national finals of the Poetry Out Loud recitation competition and its $20,000 prize. [caption id="attachment_34999" align="alignright" width="250"] SCAC Executive Director Ken May and Janae Claxton celebrate her national championship after the competition. Credit James Kegley/NEA.[/caption] Janae Claxton, a senior at First Baptist Church School, made history already this year in March by becoming the state’s first back-to-back Poetry Out Loud state competition winner. On Tuesday, she added another first to her résumé as the first South Carolina student to advance out of round one of the national finals. By Wednesday night, she was winding down her high school experience as the competition’s national champion. She’ll bring the honor – and its $20,000 prize – back to the Palmetto State, which has offered the Poetry Out Loud competition since she was in first grade. Claxton recited “The Gaffe” by C.K. Williams and “A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General” by Jonathan Swift before clinching the top score from the judges with Sharon Olds’ “I Go Back to May 1937.” “[Poetry Out Loud] really does change your life. It really does have that power. For me, it changed my identity, made me see myself differently [and realize] I’m smart, I’m intelligent, I can do this,” Claxton said. “We are so proud of Janae and her historic win—our first national finalist and first national champion. She was absolutely amazing! We are also proud of South Carolina’s Poetry Out Loud program, which involves 7,500 students from 35 schools in 14 counties. We hope that this exciting win will encourage even greater statewide participation,” South Carolina Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May said. Nicholas Amador of Hawaii was first runner-up and Hope Stratman of Nebraska was second runner-up. Photos and videos of the nine finalists who competed in the April 25 finals are available here. Students and schools received $50,000 in awards and school stipends at the National Finals, including $20,000 for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion, and $10,000 and $5,000 for the second- and third-place finalists. The fourth- to ninth-place finalists each received $1,000. The schools of the top nine finalists received $500 for the purchase of poetry books. Poetry Out Loud is a national initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Poetry Foundation and the state arts agencies. Its national finals took place at George Washington University Lisner Auditorium in Washington. The event host was poet and author Elizabeth Acevedo. Guest judges included Robert Casper, head of the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress; Lavina Jadhwani, Chicago-based theater director; Robin Coste Lewis, poet and National Book Award winner; Dawn Lundy Martin, poet and professor at the University of Pittsburgh; and Virgil Suárez, poet and professor of at Florida State University. The featured performer was musician Kaia Kater.
JANAE CLAXTON, 2018 POETRY OUT LOUD NATIONAL CHAMPION “[Poetry Out Loud] really does change your life. It really does have that power. For me, it changed my identity, made me see myself differently [and realize] I’m smart, I’m intelligent, I can do this.” KEN MAY, SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS COMMISION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR “We are so proud of Janae and her historic win—our first national finalist and first national champion. She was absolutely amazing! We are also proud of South Carolina’s Poetry Out Loud program, which involves 7,500 students from 35 schools in 14 counties. We hope that this exciting win will encourage even greater statewide participation.” ROBIN GRAMLING, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER “When you enter the world of poetry, dream big!! Janae Claxton showed us last night a grace and elegance that was transcendent. When she spoke, the hush in the room was palpable. Janae proved the truth of the poet. A word is indeed not dead when it is said ...but begins to live in unimaginable ways. Thank you Poetry Out Loud for helping resurrect the world with words!” ZURI WILSON-SEYMORE, SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS COMMISION POETRY OUR LOUD PROGRAM COORDINATOR “I'm overjoyed with excitement for Janae Claxton and this historic moment for poetry in South Carolina.”
ABOUT POETRY OUT LOUD Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than 3 million students and 50,000 teachers from 10,000 schools in every state, Washington, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. For information, visit PoetryOutLoud.org. For information about Poetry Out Loud in South Carolina, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com.   ABOUT THE SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS COMMISSION The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. 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 SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696.   ABOUT THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $5 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. Visit Arts.gov for additional information.   ABOUT THE POETRY FOUNDATION The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It has embarked on an ambitious plan to bring the best poetry before the largest possible audiences. Visit PoetryFoundation.org for more information.

History-making Claxton nears Poetry Out Loud national title

Clemson football. Coastal Carolina baseball. USC women's basketball. Can Janae Claxton join the list of recent South Carolina national champions? The senior at First Baptist School in Charleston made history in March by becoming South Carolina’s first back-to-back Poetry Out Loud state champion. Yesterday she made more, becoming the first from the Palmetto State to advance from the regional competition at national finals. Will she make even more tonight when the nine national finalists compete to be national champion and win $20,000? It won't be much longer until that question is answered, and you can follow along tonight during the live webcast from the National Endowment for the arts. The competition runs from 7 to 9:15 p.m. The finals host is poet and author Elizabeth Acevedo. Guest judges include Robert Casper, head of the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress; Lavina Jadhwani, Chicago-based theater director; Robin Coste Lewis, poet and National Book Award winner; Dawn Lundy Martin, poet and professor at the University of Pittsburgh; and Virgil Suárez, poet and professor of at Florida State University. The featured performer is musician Kaia Kater. Nine student finalists representing high schools from Arizona, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, and Vermont match their skills in reciting classic and contemporary poetry in a contest for the title of 2018 Poetry Out Loud National Champion and a $20,000 award. Poetry Out Loud is a national initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Poetry Foundation and the state arts agencies. More information about the 2018 National Finals is available here. Poetry Out Loud is on Twitter at @PoetryOutLoud and @NEAarts, #POL18.

Another win at Poetry Out Loud; repeat champ makes Charleston proud

It's a South Carolina first. [caption id="attachment_34461" align="alignright" width="242"] State Poetry Out Loud winner Janae Claxton (center) receives her trophy from South Carolina Arts Commission representatives Zuri Wilson-Seymore, program coordinator (left), and Ashley Kerns Brown, arts education director (right).[/caption] This past weekend, Janae Claxton of Charleston became the first back-to-back champion of the statewide Poetry Out Loud competition, which is organized by the South Carolina Arts Commission. A senior at First Baptist Church School in Charleston, Claxton was judged the winner after three rounds against five other South Carolina finalists Saturday afternoon at Richland Library Main Branch in Columbia. She won an all-expenses-paid trip for herself and a chaperone as she represents the state in the Poetry Out Loud national finals April 23-25, 2018 in Washington. She also won $200. The national winner receives a $20,000 cash prize.

  • Taylor Elisse Wade of Andrew Jackson High School in Lancaster was first runner up, winning a $100 prize for herself and a $200 stipend for her school to spend on poetry books.
  • Alyssa Stone of Wando High School in Mt. Pleasant was second runner up.
Four first-time judges were part of the Poetry Out Loud state finals: Al Black, Dr. Ray McManus, Dr. Charlene Spearen, and Dr. Ernest Williamson III. SCETV's Beryl Dakers served as event host. Claxton recited three poems from memory on her way to the victory: “The Gaffe” by C.K. Williams in the first round and “A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late, Famous General” by Jonathan Swift in the second. Her judges’ score advanced her to the third and final round, where she recited Sharon Olds' “I Go Back to May 1937

Six students readying for ‘Poetry Out Loud’ state finals Saturday

Six South Carolina high school students will compete in the state finals for Poetry Out Loud – an annual, nationwide recitation contest – this Saturday, March 10, 3 p.m. at the Richland Library Main Branch (1431 Assembly St., Columbia). Janae ClaxtonThe S.C. Arts Commission (SCAC) coordinates Poetry Out Loud in South Carolina, partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts to bring the competition to state high schools for 12 years running. In 2017, around 7,500 students from 35 schools in 14 counties participated. School competition winners competed against students in their district to move on and compete in January’s regional finals. The following six state regional winners, three from each of two regions, compete Saturday for the opportunity to be the South Carolina representative in the national finals April 23-25, 2018 in Washington, D.C.:

  • Grant Butler (Aiken High School in Aiken)
  • Janae Claxton (pictured - First Baptist Church High School in Charleston)
  • Sha’Kaila Stewart (Whale Branch Early College High School in Seabrook)
  • Alyssa Stone (Wando High School in Mount Pleasant)
  • Alexia Story (Buford High School in Lancaster)
  • Taylor Elisse Wade (Andrew Jackson High School in Lancaster)
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. Contestant Janae Claxton is the 2017 S.C. Poetry Out Loud winner. Update, 12:25 p.m. March 8: First alternate Alyssa Stone will replace Keegan Dustin, who is unable to perform, on the program.

About Poetry Out Loud

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 PoetryOutLoud.org.

Six students advance to state ‘Poetry Out Loud’ finals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 24 January 2018

  • Regional competitions yield six finalists
  • State finals to be held March 10 in Columbia
  • Winner advances to national competition in Washington, D.C.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Six South Carolina high school students reached the state finals for Poetry Out Loud – an annual, nationwide recitation contest – after regional competitions in Charleston and Spartanburg this past weekend. The S.C. Arts Commission (SCAC) coordinates Poetry Out Loud in South Carolina, partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts to bring the competition to state high schools for 12 years running. In 2017, around 7,500 students from 35 schools in 14 counties participated. School competition winners compete against students in their district to move on to compete in the state finals.  
(l-r: Keegan Dustin, Janae Claxton, Sha'Kaila Stewart, Taylor Elisse Wade, Alexia Story, and Grant Butler)
  The following six state regional winners, three from each of two regions, will compete Saturday, March 10, 2018 at the Richland Library Main Branch in Columbia for the opportunity to be the South Carolina representative in the national finals April 23-25, 2018 in Washington, D.C.:
  • Grant Butler (Aiken High School in Aiken)
  • Janae Claxton (First Baptist Church High School in Charleston)
  • Keegan Dustin (Charleston County School of the Arts in Charleston)
  • Sha’Kaila Stewart (Whale Branch Early College High School in Seabrook)
  • Alexia Story (Buford High School in Lancaster)
  • Taylor Elisse Wade (Andrew Jackson High School in Lancaster)
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.
ABOUT POETRY OUT LOUD 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 PoetryOutLoud.org.
ABOUT THE SOUTH CAROLINA ARTS COMMISSION The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. 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 SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696.