Local students to compete in statewide Poetry Out Loud event

Students from 31 Vermont high schools representing 11 counties will travel to the Barre Opera House on March 7 to recite poems on stage in the Vermont Poetry Out Loud 2019 Semifinals.

Two of those students are Yiwen “Eva” Wu from Vermont Academy and Ada Melton-Houghton from Brattleboro Union High School.

They will vie for the state championship in this prestigious poetry recitation competition, which is administered by the Vermont Arts Council under the auspices of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The state winner will advance to the National Finals in April.

Poetry Out Loud was created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Now in its 14th year, it has inspired hundreds of thousands of American high school students to discover and commit to memory classic and contemporary poetry.

“Integrating art into public school education is at the heart of the Council's mission. Poetry Out Loud offers an imaginative and effective way to engage young people with great works of poetry, build self-confidence, and impart transferable skills,” said Troy Hickman, Vermont Arts Council education programs manager, in a news release.

This year, 38 high schools registered to bring poetry recitation into their classrooms through Poetry Out Loud, representing nearly 55 percent of Vermont high schools. More than 5,000 students and 140 teachers participated.

Beyond the demonstrated impact on students, Poetry Out Loud also provides excellent instructional tools for high school teachers. The Arts Council provided funds to bring skilled teaching artists to classrooms across the state.

The winners from 31 school competitions will recite at the semifinals in Barre. From there, 10 students will be selected to compete in the statewide finals on March 19 at the Vermont PBS studio in Colchester. The finals will be streamed live on the Vermont PBS website.

The winner of the Vermont State Competition then goes to the National Finals in Washington, D.C., to compete against champions from every state in the country.

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