For Immediate Release
March 3, 2015
Contact: Steve Wilcox
602-771-6536
swilcox@azarts.gov

Arizona High School Students to Compete at State Finals of National Poetry Recitation Contest
Over 11,000 Arizona high school students participated in Poetry Out Loud in 2014-15

Phoenix, AZ (March 3, 2015). The Arizona Commission on the Arts will present the 10th Annual Arizona Poetry Out Loud state finals competition at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix at 7:00pm on Thursday, March 12, 2015. Nine high school students from throughout the state will compete in the poetry recitation contest for an opportunity to represent Arizona at the 10th 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 and local organizations, 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 a regional and/or state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals. Over 11,000 Arizona students and 47 schools in communities throughout the state participated in Poetry Out Loud this year.

This year’s state finalists include students from Nogales to Window Rock:

Southern Region

  • Zaskia Natalie Villa – Nogales High School, Nogales, AZ
  • Lena Blackmon – University High School, Tucson, AZ
  • Caitlin McCormick – The Gregory School, Tucson, AZ

Central Region

  • Hunter Hazelton – Betty Fairfax High School, Laveen, AZ
  • Kyrah Berthiaume – McClintock High School, Tempe, AZ
  • Oluwatosin Babarinde – Brophy College Preparatory, Phoenix, AZ

Northern Region

  • Adriana Hurtado – Tri-City College Prep, Prescott
  • Jessica Han – Coconino High School, Flagstaff
  • Courtney Hale – Saint Michael Indian School, St. Michaels, AZ

“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 will be the first year the state finals event has been presented at the Herberger Theater Center in Downtown Phoenix. Phoenix poet and teaching artist Tomas Stanton will emcee the event. The event will also feature remarks by special guests Alberto Álvaro Ríos, Arizona’s Poet Laureate, and Eleanor Billington, Program Manager in the Literature & Arts Education Division of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Finals

  • Where: Herberger Theater Center at 222 East Monroe Street, Phoenix, AZ, 85004.
  • When: Thursday, March 12, 2015, 7:00pm to 9:00pm
  • Admission: Free and open to the public.

About Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry—recitation and performance. Poetry Out Loud invites the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the English class. Through Poetry Out Loud, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. For further information regarding Poetry Out Loud, visit www.poetryoutloud.org.

About the Arizona Commission on the Arts

One of 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies across the United States, the Arizona Commission on the Arts is an agency of the State of Arizona that supports a statewide arts network. The Arizona Commission on the Arts supports access to quality arts and arts education opportunities for all Arizona citizens; the development and retention of statewide jobs in the nonprofit arts, culture and education sectors; and increased economic impact in local communities through arts-based partnerships that develop tax and small business revenue.

We imagine an Arizona where everyone can participate in and experience the arts.

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For more information on the Arizona Commission on the Arts or Arizona Poetry Out Loud, please visit www.azarts.gov/pol or contact Steve Wilcox, Communications and Research Director, Arizona Commission on the Arts, at (602) 771-6536 or swilcox@azarts.gov.

To request this or any other agency publication in an alternative format, contact the Arts Commission offices at (602) 771-6502.

Images available upon request.