Two Spectrum students move on to state Poetry Out Loud competition
From press release
Two area high school students will represent northern Illinois in the State Poetry Out Loud Competition March 18 in Springfield, Ill.
Rockford Spectrum High School’s Alex Peterson was the winner and Spectrum’s Jonah Antosh was first runner-up in the regional Poetry Out Loud competition, held by the Rockford Area Arts Council.
Lisa Alexander, the students’ teacher, said: “I can’t thank you (Rockford Area Arts Council) enough for helping to organize this competition and giving these students the opportunity to participate. This gives them a chance to read a good number of poems, and many of them had not read poetry at all in the past. Each time they read the poems, the meaning becomes clearer, the words become more alive and the music starts to come through for them, and this is a pleasure to observe as a teacher. Poetry is not something to be feared or relegated to graduate English courses, but something to be studied and enjoyed at all stages of life.”
The winner of the state competition will advance to the national championship, which will be held in Washington, D.C., in May. The state winner will receive $200 and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington (with an adult chaperone) to compete at the National Finals. The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The runner-up will receive $100; his or her school will receive $200 for the purchase of poetry books. A total of $50,000 in scholarship awards and school stipends will be awarded at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, with a $20,000 college scholarship award for the National Champion.
The Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest is a free national program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.
Poetry Out Loud encourages youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance, which help students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary heritage. Last year, more than $100,000 in prizes was awarded to students and schools.
The Rockford Area Arts Council was one of seven organizations throughout the state that was asked to hold Poetry Out Loud regional competitions. The competition was held at Katie’s Cup. Volunteer judges for the event were: Erik Lewis, Jami Hoskins, Dorothy Paige Turner and Anne O’Keefe. Tabulators were Laura Kenison and Elaine Breck. Tricia Sheridan served as prompter. Local poet Christopher Sims was the emcee and host of the event.
Sharon Nesbit-Davis, education/outreach Director of the Rockford Area Arts Council, was the regional coordinator.
Nesbit-Davis said: “This is a great program and the volunteers loved working on it. We can still recite poems we learned when we were high school students.”
Teachers interested in participating in the 2011 Poetry Out Loud Contest should contact Sharon at the Rockford Area Arts Council, (815) 963-6765 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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