Auburn senior first runner-up at ‘Poetry Out Loud’

Rapheal Mathis (left) and Cat Harmon.

From a competitive field of nearly 6,000 students from across the state, Cat Harmon, a senior at Rockford Auburn High School, won first runner-up at the Poetry Out Loud State Competition. Harmon recited “Ah! Why, Because the Dazzling Sun” by Emily Bronte, “I Felt a Funeral in My Brain (340)” by Emily Dickinson, and Rebecca Lindenberg’s “Carnival.”

Rapheal Mathis, a senior at Plainfield East High School in Plainfield, Ill., won the competition and will advance to the national competition to be held in Washington, D.C., in mid-April. In the event Mathis is unable to attend, Harmon will represent Illinois at the national contest.

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure. Beginning at the classroom level, winners advance to a school-wide competition, to a regional competition, then the state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals in Washington, D.C. At the state finals in Springfield, Ill., Poetry Out Loud contestants recited works they selected from an anthology of more than 680 classic and contemporary poems. Now in its seventh year of competition, Poetry Out Loud has inspired hundreds of thousands of high school students to discover classic and contemporary poetry. The Poetry Out Loud anthology, a website,, a teacher’s guide, and media samples of poetry recitation were created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation as free educational resources for high school teachers.

From the April 10-16, 2013, issue

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