Students Ready to Battle with Word and Rhyme at the 6th Annual California Poetry Out Loud Finals
Champions from 34 counties will compete for scholarships and state title on Sunday, March 20 and in the Senate Chambers on Monday, March 21, 2011
The students will battle with words, gestures and speaking quality standards in the sixth annual California Poetry Out Loud finals on Sunday and Monday, March 20 and 21, 2011. The names, schools and counties represented at the state finals are listed below. Dozens of articles have already been written about the students in their county competitions.
"We have so many counties sending Poetry Out Loud winners this year to the state finals that we have to split the event into two days," said Marilyn Nielsen, Interim Director of the California Arts Council. "This demonstrates the popularity of the program statewide, with California having the largest number of high school students participating in the nation, learning about poetry and improving their language skills and creative-thinking processes."
The event has been split into two sections: Round 1 will take place on the afternoon of Sunday, March 20 at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento at 3:00 pm, while Round 2 and Round 3 will take place at the East End Auditorium at 1500 Capitol Avenue at 8:30 a.m. The California Arts Council expects to announce the winner at approximately noon on Monday. The California Channel will video-record Rounds Two and Three for future viewing.
This is the sixth time the California Arts Council has produced the annual competition -- the largest of its kind in the nation, with over 40,000 students in approximately 34 California counties participating. The program encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. The Arts Council expects the 2011 finals will be standing-room only, based on the excitement generated statewide.
The event is the state's culminating competition between county winners who have shown their merit in the classroom, school, district, and county (a pyramid competition structure similar to the spelling bee). The national Poetry Out Loud program began six years ago, and each state sends a winner to the national finals. The California Poetry Out Loud champion will win $200 from the NEA and an expense-paid trip to compete in Washington, DC in April, with the winner's schools receiving $500 for poetry books. The California runner-up receives $100 from the NEA, with his or her school receiving $200 for books.
The state's Poetry Out Loud program is directed by the California Arts Council, and was initiated by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation. Local arts agencies and school districts conduct the program at the county level. The national initiative is part of an attempt to bring literary arts to students -- a critical need in U.S. schools, according to a 2004 NEA report Reading at Risk that found a dramatic decline in literary reading, especially among younger readers. The Poetry Out Loud program seeks to foster the next generation of readers and strengthen students' confidence in their public-speaking abilities by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry: recitation and performance.
The California Arts Council would like to thank the Target Corporation for sponsoring the state's program and helping bring California Poetry Out Loud to as many California high school students as possible. The agency is also indebted to the hardworking staff at the California Channel who allow the program to be broadcast and webcast.
Members of the public should know that space will be limited in the Senate chambers, so parties interested in bringing more than one or two people to view the competition live should contact Poetry Out Loud coordinator Kristin Margolis at email@example.com. More general information, including a list of poems the students may choose to recite, can be found at www.poetryoutloud.org. A summary of the NEA Reading at Risk report can be found at www.nea.gov/news/news04/ReadingAtRisk.html.
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California Poetry Out Loud 2011
County Champions (in alphabetical order by County)
Sam Warrick, The College Preparatory School
Contra Costa County
Mark Reifenheiser, Mt. Diablo High School
El Dorado County
Rebecca Shields, Oak Ridge High School
Chukwunonso "Nonny" Okwelogu, Clovis West
Terra Ashbrook, North Coast Preparatory and Performing Arts Academy
Tyler Holt, Big Pine High School
Cabrilla McGinn, Hanford West High School
Rebecca Sires, Lower Lake High School
Los Angeles County
Sophia Breanna Brady, Herbert Hoover High School
Erica Grant, Yosemite High School
Douglas Pardella, Redwood High
Camila Biaggi, Pacific Community Charter School
Jennifer Mueller, Surprise Valley High School
Erica Robinson, Mammoth High School, Lakes
Robert Marchand, Pacific Grove High School
Stella Palado, American Canyon High School
Nicole Bush, Nevada Union High School
Feby Boediarto, Oxford Academy
Charet Bolton, Roseville High School
Nkem Ehiemere, Nuview Bridge Early College High School
Brittany Wiltz, Natomas Charter School
San Bernardino County
James Smith, Yucaipa High School
San Diego County
Lauren Owensby, Valley Center High School
San Francisco County
Abigail Schott-Rosenfield, Ruth Asawa School of the Arts
San Luis Obispo County
Kaden Howard, Lopez Continuation High School
Santa Barbara County
Courtney Cambron, Dos Pueblos High School
Keven Cassells, Mount Shasta High School
Lindsay Blackie, Benicia High School
Phebe Hong, Santa Rosa High School
Rebecca Kim Mears, Modesto High School
Molly Grover, CORE Camptonville
Jonathon Bermea, Sonora Union High School
Frank de la Torre, Providence High School
Ocil Herrejon, Lindhurst High School