Students shine at state Poetry Out Loud competition

Poetry out Loud was a HUGE success this year!

I’m going to be real honest here. I’ve never taken part in Poetry Out Loud, and I couldn’t tell if it was just me being introduced to this art form, but everyone else agreed — this year’s group was truly spectacular. I’m really glad I wasn’t a judge. I’m also glad I wasn’t a student…the competition was tough! As an audience member, I was so nervous for them.

I was a communications major in college. I’ve done countless debates, speech after speech, I’ve even anchored newscasts. There’s no way I’d be able to do what they did. All the competitors recited two poems and then five finalists made it to the final round to recite another. It was like a marathon, but each recitation was still raw and uninhibited.

Out of the 14 students that made it to Frankfort, Haley Bryan, of Grant County High School, will travel to nationals in Washington, D.C., for the National Poetry Out Loud Championship to represent Kentucky. I’m sure it was a close call, with Cacia Rose of George Rogers Clark High School finishing in second place.

Each school champion deserves a shout out.

  • Matt Bradshaw, Butler Traditional High School, Jefferson County
  • Hayley Bryan, Grant County High School
  • Naomi Cliett, Elizabethtown High School, Hardin County
  • Sierra DeShane, Allen County Scottsville High School, Allen County
  • Loren Prather, Graves County High School
  • Cacia Rose, George Rogers Clark High School, Clark County
  • Brooke Salsman, McCracken County High School
  • Haylee Stevens, Phelps Junior and Senior High School, Pike County
  • Taryn Syck, Pike County Central High School
  • Katelyn Taylor, Franklin County High School
  • Gabby Thompson, Boyd County High School
  • Kaleb Trent, Hart County High School
  • Connor Wagner, West Carter High School, Carter County
  • Cameron Wilson, Western Hills High School, Franklin County

Take my word for it. This blog post does not do this year’s competition justice. To watch pieces of a recitation from each student, along with the announcement of the winners, visit our Twitter account at @kyartscouncil.

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Poetry Out Loud is a poetry recitation contest sponsored by the Kentucky Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Each student is judged on the recitation of two poems, which are selected by the student and their teachers from a preapproved list of works.

Megan Williamson Fields, communications assistant

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