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Nevada Poetry Out Loud State Finals set for March 16 in Reno

By Chris Moran
A student competes in the 2012 Poetry Out Loud competition. More than 2,600 Nevada students participated in 2013.

A student competes in the 2012 Poetry Out Loud competition. More than 2,600 Nevada students participated in 2013.

Semi-final events set for Feb. 21 in northern Nevada

High school students across the state will compete in the eighth annual Nevada Poetry Out Loud State Finals, noon to 3 p.m. March 16 at the Whitney Peak Hotel, formerly CommRow. The event is are free and the public is encouraged to attend.

A program of the Nevada Arts Council, Poetry Out Loud is a distinctive national arts education event that encourages students to learn about, memorize and finally present poetry — out loud. Nevada’s 2013 theme, “Powering Up Poetry,” is a nod to NV Energy, co-sponsor of the event.

“Though the competition begins in the classroom, it culminates as a main stage performance,” Susan Boskoff, executive director of the Nevada Arts Council, said.  “I am continually impressed with the poise of the students, as are our review panels and, as you can tell by the applause, so is the audience.”

At the Nevada finals, the first-place winner receives $1,000 and another $1,000 is awarded to the student’s school. Second- and third-place winners earn $500 each, with a match to their schools. The champion also wins a trip to Washington, D.C., to compete for the national title and for a chance to share $50,000 in prizes and school stipends awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

More than 2,600 students have participated in this year’s competition. Finalists named so far include Holleah LeBaron, Lincoln County High School; Graciela Maya-Joseph, Owyhee High School; Breanna Taylor, Carson Valley Middle School (ninth grade); Hannah Perazzo, Churchill County High School; and Monica Williams, Desert Pines High School. Semi-final competitions set for Feb. 21:

  • Storey County: 1 p.m. at the Virginia City High School Library
  • Humboldt County: 10 a.m. at Lowry High School
  • Lyon County: 4 p.m. at the Jeanne Dini Cultural Center
  • Washoe County: 5:30 p.m., KNPB Channel 5 Community Room

Starting at the classroom level, teachers are provided with free multimedia curriculum materials — a poetry anthology, audio guide, teachers’ guide, posters and comprehensive website, all aligned to national standards — to augment their regular poetry curriculum. The student winner and a chaperone from each participating school district receive support to attend the finals in Reno.

The Eighth Annual Nevada Poetry Out Loud State Finals is sponsored by the Nevada Arts Council, NV Energy, Nevada Alliance for Arts Education, National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation.

The Nevada Arts Council is the agency charged with ensuring that state and national funds support cultural activity and encourage participation in the arts throughout Nevada. In addition to providing hundreds of grants to arts and community-based organizations, schools, artists and local municipalities throughout the state, the Arts Council coordinates a variety of statewide programs and activities such as traveling exhibits, artist residencies, workshops and cultural assessments.

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