RIDGWAY – The Elk County Council on the Arts is proud to announce the winners of the regional contest of Poetry Out Loud.
The student winners are Caitlin Blessel from St. Marys High School with Sean McKean of Oswayo Valley High School as the runner-up.
Poetry Out Loud – presented in partnership with Elk County Council on the Arts (ECCOTA), the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and Poetry Foundation – is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country.
Since the program began in 2005, more than 4.1 million students across the country have participated in Poetry Out Loud.
On Thursday, Feb. 23, six high school students from the region participated in the Poetry Out Loud contest at the Harriett B. Wick Chapel on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.
Each student recited three works selected from an anthology of more than 1,200 poems. Judges evaluated student performances on criteria including voice and articulation, evidence of understanding and accuracy.
The National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation have created free, standards-based curriculum materials to support Poetry Out Loud including a teacher’s guide, lesson plans, an online anthology, posters and video and audio on the art of recitation. These resources are available for free at PoetryOutLoud.org.
Blessel will advance to the state Poetry Out Loud contest, with a winner being announced on March 13, 2023. The Pennsylvania state champion will receive $200 and will advance to the national finals next spring where $50,000 in awards and school/organizational stipends will be distributed.
The representing school or organization of the state champion will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry materials.
The first runner-up in each state will receive $100, with $200 for their school or organization.
The Poetry Foundation provides and administers all aspects of the monetary prizes awarded and travel arrangements for the Poetry Out Loud National Finals.
To learn more about the Pennsylvania Poetry Out Loud contest, contact Cameron Howard at ECCOTA or visit PoetryOutLoud.org.
The Elk County Council on the Arts is a 501(c) non-profit organization founded in 1984 as a center for the development of arts and culture in Elk County.
ECCOTA provides a variety of opportunities to participate in the arts for the area’s residents. Classes and workshops for adults and children are offered including an annual summer youth theater camp. New programs and exhibits are held regularly.