On Saturday, March 11, 2017, the Arizona Commission on the Arts will present the 12th Annual Arizona Poetry Out Loud state finals competition at the downtown Phoenix studios of Arizona PBS. 10 high school students from throughout the state will compete in the poetry recitation contest for an opportunity to represent Arizona at the 12th Annual Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, D.C.
The Arizona Commission on the Arts partners with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, as well as regional partners Phonetic Spit and University of Arizona Poetry Center, to administer the Poetry Out Loud program in Arizona. The contest encourages youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation and helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.
Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure that begins at the classroom level. Winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to regional and state-level competitions, and ultimately to the National Finals. Nearly 10,000 Arizona students from 43 schools in communities throughout the state participated in Poetry Out Loud this year.
“The students work hard to get to the finals,” said Robert Booker, Executive Director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts. “Watching such a diverse group of exceptional young people from around the state stand tall, recite, and display their understanding and love of poetry is truly remarkable and inspirational. These young people learn skills through this competition that will serve them for a lifetime.”
2017 Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Finalists:
Brophy College Preparatory, Phoenix
Paul is sixteen and is a sophomore at Brophy College Preparatory. He is very excited to be representing his school in this round of competition amongst the other talented poets in the state. Apart from reciting poetry, Paul is a second degree black belt in the martial art of Taekwon-do and is an avid urban sketcher and guitarist. He is very grateful to Mr. Austin Pidgeon, Mr. Tomás Stanton and all others who made Poetry Out Loud possible.
Tri-city Prep High School,Prescott
Thea is a Junior at Tri-city Prep High School. She joined Poetry Out Loud because she enjoys public speaking and presenting and it was a great opportunity to engage in those activities creatively. She also enjoys music, art, writing and photography. Thea hopes to someday become an influential artist or speaker. She’s grateful to be at this competition and thanks her parents, friends, and teachers who made sure she never gave up.
Sedona Red Rock High School, Sedona
Chaiah is a sophomore at Sedona Red Rock High School. This is her first time at Poetry Out Loud State finals. She has begun to delve into her passion for writing this past year and is very grateful to have the opportunity to share such beautiful art. Poetry is something that continues to make her life more meaningful.
Desert View High School, Tucson
India is a seventeen year old senior at Desert View High School, a member of the U of A Wildcat Choir, and a former member of the U of A 2016 Honors Summer Academy. She is aspiring to pursue multiple careers in Fine Arts.
Willow Canyon High School, Surprise
Tillie Jones is a senior and AP student at Willow Canyon High School. She’s involved in National Honors Society and Rachel’s Challenge Club. She is also the president of the Pride Alliance club we have on campus. She developed a passion for literature early in her youth, which has stayed with her long into high school.
Combs High School, San Tan Valley
Cynthia is a senior at Combs High School–the first to ever make it to the Poetry Out Loud State competition. A lover of literature and the arts, she seeks to become an English teacher after college. She enjoys long walks on the beach, a good book to curl up with, and her Hamlet tights.
American Leadership Academy Ironwood Campus, Queen Creek
Amanda is a giver who tends to others before herself and assists with passion and heart. Amanda only strives for greatness and takes nothing less, and though she makes many mistakes, she would never trade her past experiences for a forgotten tomorrow.
Arizona School for the Arts, Phoenix
Kellen is a sophomore at Arizona School for the Arts who enjoys playing the piano and computer programming. Writer by day and reader by night, Kellen has long appreciated poetry – his favorite poet is Emily Dickinson. His dream job is to be a physician, and he’s currently interning in a research laboratory at the Barrow Neurological Institute.
Coconino High School, Flagstaff
Sophie is very excited to be able to come back for her second year at state. A sophomore from Coconino High School, Sophie enjoys painting, singing, and binge watching The Office on weekends.
Sonoran Science Academy, Tucson
Olivia is a 17 year old junior attending Sonoran Science Academy. This is her second year participating in Poetry Out Loud and her first year making it to state finals. Olivia is a dedicated student who wishes to take a Gap Year before furthering her education at a university to study anthropology.
“The students work hard to get to the finals,” said Robert C. Booker, Executive Director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts. “Watching such a diverse group of exceptional young people from around the state stand tall, recite, and display their understanding and love of poetry is truly remarkable and inspirational. These young people learn skills through this competition that will serve them for a lifetime.”
Each winner at the state level receives $200 and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, DC, (with an adult chaperone) to compete at the National Finals. The state winner’s school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. One runner-up receives $100; his or her school receives $200 for the purchase of poetry books.
This year the state finals competition will return to the studios of Arizona PBS in Downtown Phoenix, who previously hosted the event in 2011, 2013, and 2016. The event will be emceed by Tomas Stanton, a poet, teaching artist, and co-founder of the arts education and youth development program Phonetic Spit. The event will also feature remarks by special guest Dr. Laura Tohe, Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation. The event will be recorded for later broadcast on Arizona PBS.