More than 2,600 high school students across the state are competing to represent their counties at the Nevada Poetry Out Loud State Finals, set for noon March 15 at the Siena Hotel in Reno.
District-level semi-final competitions currently are under way throughout the state. The Washoe County semi-final is set for 4:30 p.m. Feb. 18 at the McKinley Arts and Cultural Center in Reno.
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 2014 theme, Powering Up Poetry, is a nod to NV Energy, co-sponsor of the event.
The schedule for other district-level competitions is as follows:
- Douglas County competes at 6 p.m. Feb.12 in the Carson Valley Middle School Library.
- Storey County competes at 8:55 a.m. Feb. 13 in the Virginia City High School Library.
- Lyon County’s competition is at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at the Jeanne Dini Cultural Center in Yerington.
- Elko County students compete at 6 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Western Folklife Center in Elko.
- Humboldt County will hold its semi-final competition at 9 a.m. Feb. 13 at the Lowry High School Auditorium in Winnemucca.
- Mineral County students compete at 6 p.m. Feb. 18 at Mineral County High School in Hawthorne.
- Pershing County’s program is at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 18 in the Pershing County High School Auditorium in Lovelock.
Local winners advance to the state finals, where the first-place winner receives $1,000; 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.
The local semi-finals and the Nevada Poetry Out Loud State Finals are free and the public is encouraged to attend.
“Though the competition begins in the classroom, it culminates as a main stage performance,” said Susan Boskoff, executive director of the Nevada Arts Council. “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.”
Starting at the classroom level, teachers are provided with free multimedia curriculum materials – a poetry anthology, audio guide, teachers’ guide, posters and comprehensive website, www.poetryoutloud.org, all aligned to national standards, to augment their regular poetry curriculum with poetry recitation and a school-level competition. The student winner and a chaperone from each participating school district receive support to attend the finals in Reno.
The Nevada Poetry Out Loud State Finals is sponsored by the Nevada Arts Council, NV Energy, Sierra Arts Foundation, the 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.