For Immediate Release
Contact:  Casey Blake
(602) 771-6536

Over 13,000 Arizona High School Students Compete in Poetry Out Loud; Seventh Annual Arizona Poetry Out Loud Recitation Finals Announced

Phoenix, Arizona (March 22, 2012) The Seventh Annual Poetry Out Loud State Recitation Finals will be held on Thursday, March 29 at 7pm at the Phoenix Center for the Arts. Students representing 9 Arizona high schools will meet in competition to determine the 2012 Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Champion.

Over 13,000 participating Arizona high school students compete at the classroom and school level. 44 school-level finalists competed in one of three regional competitions (northern, central or southern) to advance to the state level. Nine students – three from each region – were recognized as finalists in the state competition. Student finalists are in order alphabetically, by school:

Central Arizona:

John DiMino, Brophy College Preparatory, Phoenix

Travis Marino, Freedom Christian Academy, Queen Creek.

India Parsons, Westview High School, Avondale

Northern Arizona:

Rebecca Andersen, Kingman High School, Kingman

Sophia Licher, Sedona Red Rock High School, Sedona

Adriana Hurtado, Tri-City College Preparatory High School, Prescott

Southern Arizona:

Mark Anthony Niadas, St. Augustine Catholic High School, Tucson.

Cassandra Valadez, Sunnyside High School, Tucson

Joshua Furtado, Tucson High Magnet School, Tucson

Arizona Poetry Out Loud is a program of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, facilitated in partnership with the Young Writers Program at Arizona State University and The Poetry Center at the University of Arizona, encouraging high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.

“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.”

The event will feature special guest Emcee, Arizona Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch and guest reader, poet and author, Charles Jenson.

About Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud 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, or

Poetry Out Loud Prizes

The Arizona state winner will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, to compete for the national championship. The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. One runner-up will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. Poetry Out Loud will award a total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends at the National Finals, with a $20,000 college scholarship for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

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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To request this or any other agency publication in an alternative format, contact the Arts Commission offices at (602) 771-6501.

Images available upon request.