California Arts Council

State of California
 

Press Release Detail

Contact:
March 16, 2015Caitlin Fitzwater
916-324-6617

caitlin.fitzwater@arts.ca.gov

Tuolumne County Student Levi Lowe Named California Poetry Out Loud Champion

Falyn Lazarus from Nevada County and Ethan McSwain San from Luis Obispo County named first and second runners-up in the state finals

Sacramento -

 Levi Lowe, a sophomore at Sonora Union High School in Tuolumne County, took first place in the 2015 California state finals of Poetry Out Loud and will represent the Golden State in Washington, D.C. at the national finals next month. Levi recited A March in the Ranks Hard-Prest, and the Road Unknown by Walt Whitman, The Nail by C. K. Williams, and The Blues Don't Change by Al Young.

Falyn Lazarus, a senior at Nevada Union High School, was the first runner-up and will represent California in the national finals if Levi is unable to attend. Ethan McSwain, a senior at San Luis Obispo High School, was the second runner-up.

The students received an inspiring address by special guest Dana Gioia, award-winning poet and former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the founder of Poetry Out Loud.

View and download high resolution photos from the Poetry Out Loud State Finals: http://tiny.cc/POL-15


Levi Lowe, a sophomore at Sonora Union High School in Tuolumne County, took first place in the 2015 California state finals of Poetry Out Loud


Ethan McSwain, Falyn Lazarus, and Levi Lowe


Dana Gioia, award-winning poet and former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the founder of Poetry Out Loud


Semi-Finalists, names listed below


High school students from forty California counties competed in the Poetry Out Loud State Finals

This year marks the tenth time the California Arts Council has produced the annual state competition, the largest of its kind in the nation, with over 40,000 students in 40 California counties participating. An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA,) Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

"The California Poetry Out Loud state final is an extremely competitive contest, and all the county champions are remarkable young men and women," said Craig Watson, Director of the California Arts Council. "California's extraordinary diversity and creativity is well represented in these talented high school students who participated today, and we are proud that Levi will represent California in the national finals."

The Competitors

After two rounds, eight semifinalists competed for the title of champion, including (in alphabetical order):

  • Lesley Aguirre, Orange County
  • Delia Bisconer, Napa County
  • Quincy Boyle, Mendocino County
  • Benjamin Brazell, El Dorado County
  • Falyn Lazarus, Nevada County
  • Levi Lowe, Tuolumne County
  • Ethan McSwain, San Luis Obispo County
  • Aldrin Allen Ysip, Santa Barbara County

A list of all of the county winners, their high schools, and the poems they chose can be found in the Poetry Out Loud State Finals program: http://issuu.com/californiaartscouncil/docs/program

About Poetry Out Loud

The competition took place on the evening of Sunday, March 15, at the Sacramento Sheraton (Round 1), and the morning of Monday, March 16 (Rounds 2 and 3) at the State Capitol in Assembly Room 4202. A video recording of Monday's is available at http://www.calchannel.com/.

The California state final is the culminating competition in California between county winners who have shown their merit in the classroom, school, district, and county (a pyramid competition structure similar to the spelling bee).

Levi Lowe, as the California Poetry Out Loud champion, receives $200 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). He will go on to compete in Washington, DC this April, and his school will receive $500 for books. Falyn Lazarus, as the runner-up, receives $100 from the NEA, and $200 for books at her school.

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The Mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Donn K. Harris, Vice Chair Susan Steinhauser, Michael Alexander, Phoebe Beasley, Christopher Coppola, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Nashormeh Lindo, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov.






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