WNC students to compete at statewide Poetry Out Loud competition

Several area students including, Sophia Mosby of A.C. Reynolds High School, Christian Gentry of Tuscola High School and Savannah Peters of Smoky Mountain High, have advanced to participate in a state-wide Poetry Out Loud competition in Greensboro on Saturday, March 7.

A total of 27 competitors from high schools across North Carolina will take the stage in hopes of qualifying for the Poetry Out Loud finals, to be held in the nation’s capital this April. The NC state-level competition winner will receive a $200 prize, an all-expense paid trip to the national round and a shot at a $20,000 college scholarship. Plus, the champion’s school gets a stipend for poetry books.

Poetry Out Loud’s NC round takes place at the Greensboro Public Library, 210 N. Church Street, at 10 a.m., and is free to attend.

Here is more information from event coordinators at the North Carolina Arts Council:

RALEIGH, N.C. — Twenty-seven high school students from across the state will take center stage Saturday, March 7, in Greensboro, to compete in the annual statewide Poetry Out Loud competition. The winner will advance to the Poetry Out Loud finals in Washington, D.C., in April.

Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Poetry Foundation, and coordinated by the North Carolina Arts Council, the poetry recitation program will be held at locations around downtown Greensboro, is free and open to the public. It all kicks off at 10 a.m. at the Greensboro Public Library.

“Poetry Out Loud utilizes the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word and theater in high school classrooms,” said Sharon Hill, Arts in Education director for the North Carolina Arts Council. “Through the program, students can master public speaking skills, increase reading comprehension scores, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.”

Poetry Out Loud, now in its 10th year, features recitations by students from public and private schools, including schools as far away as Jackson County in the mountains to Dare and New
Hanover counties on the North Carolina coast.

For a list of competing students click here.

“The national program demonstrates the collaboration between national, state and local organizations in the classroom,” said Hill. “We are grateful to all our partners, especially the Greensboro Public Library, for making poetry accessible and meaningful to students across North Carolina.”

The program begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Central Branch of the Greensboro Public Library located at 219 North Church Street. Three concurrent semifinals at the library and the Greensboro Cultural Center located at 200 North Davie Street, start at 11:15 a.m. Each semifinal features nine students.

Winners of the semifinals will move on to the finals, which begin at 2:45 p.m. at the Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Avenue. All rounds of the competition are in the same area of downtown, and are free and open to the public.

North Carolina Poet Laureate Shelby Stephenson will be the featured poet for the event. Other distinguished members of North Carolina’s literary community will serve as judges including Anjail Rashida Ahmad, Brenda Schleunes, Cassandra Williams, Ansel Elkins, Maureen Sherondy, Barbara Presnell, Malaika King Albrech, Ed Southern and Jackie Shelton Green. Judges for the finals are Dasan Ahanu, Malaika King Albrecht and Jacinta White. Master of ceremonies is Michael Beadle. Other emcees are Terri Kirby Erickson and Eruydice White.

Schools participating in the program received supplemental curriculum materials from the NEA including online anthologies, a program guide to help instructors teach recitation and performance, an audio CD featuring distinguished actors and writers, promotional and media guides and access to a comprehensive website.

Students first participate at the school level then compete at the district level. Winners from district competitions advance to the state level competition. The winner at the state level receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national championship at George Washington University, which will be held April 28-29, 2015. The North Carolina champion will compete for a $20,000 college scholarship.

The state winner’s school receives a $500 stipend to be used for purchasing poetry books. The runner-up at the state level receives $100, with his or her school receiving a $200 stipend for buying poetry books.

N.C. 2014 Poetry Out Loud state winner Casey Goggin of Pinecrest High School in Moore County represented N.C. at the national finals in Washington, D.C.

For more information contact Steve Sumerford, N.C. Poetry Out Loud Coordinator, at (336) 317-3229 or ssumerford@triad.rr.com. Media inquiries should be directed to Rebecca Moore, N.C. Arts Council (919) 807-6530 or Rebecca.Moore@ncdcr.gov. For questions about access or disability accommodations, please contact the N.C. Arts Council at (919) 807-6501.

About the North Carolina Arts Council

The North Carolina Arts Council works to make North Carolina The Creative State where a robust arts industry produces a creative economy, vibrant communities, children prepared for the 21st century and lives filled with discovery and learning. The Arts Council accomplishes this in partnership with artists and arts organizations, other organizations that use the arts to make their communities stronger and North Carolinians-young and old-who enjoy and participate in the arts. For more information visit www.ncarts.org.

About the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan W. Kluttz, NCDCR’s mission is improve our state’s quality of life by creating opportunities that promote economic development, stimulate learning, preserve the state’s history and spark creativity to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella.

Through arts efforts led by the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art, NCDCR offers the opportunity for enriching arts education for young and old alike and spurring the economic stimulus engine for our state’s communities. NCDCR’s Divisions of State Archives, Historical Resources, State Historic Sites and State History Museums preserve, document and interpret North Carolina’s rich cultural heritage to offer experiences of learning and reflection. NCDCR’s State Library of North Carolina is the principal library of state government and builds the capacity of all libraries in our state to develop and to offer access to educational resources through traditional and online collections including genealogy and resources for people who are blind and have physical disabilities.

NCDCR annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council and the State Archives. NCDCR champions our state’s creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.

About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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