Three move on to state in regional Poetry Out Loud competition

From press release

Three area high school students will represent northern Illinois in the State Poetry Out Loud Competition, which will be held in Springfield, Ill., March 11.

Joy Avery (Auburn Freshman Campus) was the winner of the regional competition, held Feb. 17 at Ellis Arts Academy. Niambi Thompson (Roosevelt) was first runner-up, and the alternate was Xaiver Kimbrough (Auburn Main Campus).

All three receive an expenses-paid trip to Springfield for the competition, a dinner reception Friday evening, a stay at a hotel and day pass Saturday to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.

The winner of the state competition advances to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals April 28-29 in Washington, D.C., where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed.

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. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

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 Ellis Arts Academy. Volunteer judges for the event were David Causey, George E. Davis, Erik Lewis, Anne O’Keefe and Karen Walker.

Tabulator was Laura Kenison. Colin Higgins served as prompter. Local poet Tricia Sheridan was the emcee and host of the event.

Sharon Nesbit-Davis, Education/Outreach director of the Rockford Area Arts Council, was the regional coordinator.

“We were highly impressed with the student presentations this year and pleased to have five schools participate,” Nesbit-Davis said. “We hope more will join us in 2012. This year’s teachers are already planning for next year.”

Teachers interested in learning more about Poetry Out Loud should contact Sharon at the Rockford Area Arts Council, (815) 963-6765 or e-mail

From the Feb. 23-March 1, 2011, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!