For Immediate Release
Contact: Casey Blake


Over 13,000 Arizona high school students participate in Arizona Poetry Out Loud

PHOENIX, AZ (April 26, 2013)Cassandra Valadez, a senior at Sunnyside High School in Tucson, Arizona, was selected out of 13,000 competitors as the Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Champion at the eighth annual state finals event held on March 20, 2013. Cassandra will represent Arizona in the National Poetry Out Loud competition, presented by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation, in Washington D.C., April 28 and 29, 2013.

53 high school students who advanced from poetry recitation championships in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands will gather at Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University to match their skills in reciting classic and contemporary poetry, from William Shakespeare to Brenda Cárdenas. Nine of the 53 state champions will advance to compete in the National Finals on Tuesday, April 30. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals will award a total of $50,000 in cash and school stipends for the purchase of poetry books.

The Poetry Out Loud National Finals competition begins Monday, April 29 at 9 am (EST) with three rounds of semifinals. Cassandra will compete in the third semifinal on Monday evening, between 5pm and 8pm (EST). The culminating event is at 7 pm (EST) on Tuesday, April 30. The semifinals and finals can be viewed remotely through a closed captioned, one-time-only webcast, at Follow the event on Twitter at @PoetryOutLoud and @NEAarts, hashtag #POL13.

Arizona Poetry Out Loud is a program of the Arizona Commission on the Arts in partnership with the Young Writers Program at Arizona State University and The Poetry Center at the University of Arizona.

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

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) 771-6502.

Images available upon request.