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Poetry Out Loud

Congratulations to Maya Bryant, Missouri's 2015 State Champion.

At the Missouri State Finals in Jefferson City on March 12, Maya Bryant (pictured with First Lady Georganne Nixon), a senior at Holt High School in Wentzville, rose to the top from among her fellow regional winners as the state champion. Ms. Bryant went on to the national finals in Washington, D.C. on April 28-29, where she competed with 52 other champions of contests in every state as well as Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C. These champions emerged from a field of more than 365,000 students nationwide.

To watch the Missouri State Finals, click here:
Round 1
Round 2
Round 3 and Presentation of Awards

The Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest for high school students encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization, recitation, and competition. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. 

In the 2014-2015 school year, Poetry Out Loud celebrates its 10th anniversary. Missouri has been part of the program from its beginning.
Nationwide since its beginnings, Poetry Out Loud has reached nearly 3 million students at more than 9,500 schools. 

Missouri's regional competitions took place from January 17 through February 21. These are the regional champions.

Neil Cathro, junior
Rock Bridge High School, Columbia

Kansas City North
Jessie Fuller, junior
Grandview High School

Kansas City South
Alyssa Moncure, junior
Notre Dame de Sion High School

Kara Wolf, sophomore
Troy Buchanan High School, Troy

Alex Hall, sophomore
Home school, St. Joseph

St. Charles
Maya Bryant, senior
Holt High School, St. Charles

St. Louis City
Kaitlyn Davis, junior
McKinley Classical Leadership Academy

St. Louis County
Sam Pointer, senior
Affton High School, Affton

Emily Sullenger, senior
New Madrid County Central High School, New Madrid

Verniquia Foster, senior
Central High School, Springfield

Resources for Next Year

If you think your school might be interested in participating in the Poetry Out Loud competition in 2016, and you would like to learn more, check these resources:

  • Get Involved in Poetry Out Loud! video – Learn why students and teachers love the program in this new five-minute video. Missouri is prominently featured, with comments from Thomas Fields, 2014 Missouri State Champion and one of only nine finalists in the 2014 nationals; Charles Hussung, teacher at St. Louis University High School, at which Thomas is a senior; and Virginia Sanders of the Missouri Arts Council, Missouri Poetry Out Loud coordinator.  
  • A letter from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education designed to inform your superintendent about how the program benefits the school
  • A 2012 article courtesy of the National Association of State Arts Agencies by their executive director, Jonathan Katz, lauding the program’s life-changing benefits for students and “the power of poetry and partnership”
  • General information about the national Poetry Out Loud competition, including lists of poems eligible for use

For more information, contact Virginia Sanders, Missouri Poetry Out Loud coordinator, at 314-340-6851 or virginia.sanders@ded.mo.gov.

The Missouri Arts Council and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education have partnered to bring Poetry Out Loud to Missouri. The contest was created in 2006 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, and is administered in partnership with the state arts agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

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