Last week, Mikayla Bates, a senior at Elko High School in Elko County, was named Nevada’s 2016 Poetry Out Loud state champion at the 11th Annual Nevada State Finals at KNPB Studios in Reno. As the Nevada State Champion, she received $1,000, an all-expenses-paid trip for her and her chaperone to attend the National Finals in Washington, D.C., and $1,000 for her school for the purchase of poetry books and/or literary programs.
Gabrielle Hunt, from Yerington High School, and Vanessa Blackwell, from Douglas High School, placed second and third. Each received $500, with $500 awarded to their respective schools to support literary programs.
Bates will move onto the National Poetry Out Loud Finals on May 3 and 4, She will compete for the title of national champion and $50,000 in awards and school stipends against competitors from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
More than 2,750 high school students participated in this year’s program, with 12 finalists competing at the state finals. Bates recited “Country Boy in Winter,” by Sarah Orne Jewett, “Domestic Situation,” by Ernest Hilbert and “For the Young Who Want To,” by Marge Piercy.
“The literary arts have always been a figure in the western landscape, so it’s no surprise that poetry resonates in the Silver State. Poetry Out Loud is a complex program to coordinate on a statewide basis, but its impact on our students is remarkable,” said Susan Boskoff, executive director of the Nevada Arts Council. “Parents, teachers and principals across this state deserve credit for ensuring a next generation of readers, writers and thinkers.”
Poetry Out Loud is an arts education program of the Nevada Arts Council, a division of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. Its goal is to promote cultural activity and the participation in the arts throughout the state. For details, visit the website.