National Champion to Receive $20,000 Grand Prize
From Meredith Callis –
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation will welcome high school students from across the country to Washington, DC, April 30-May 1, 2019 to compete in the national finals of Poetry Out Loud and the chance to win a grand prize of $20,000. The 53 competitors represent every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and have advanced from a field of more than 275,000 students who participated in the program nationwide this year. Now in its 14th year, Poetry Out Loud encourages students to engage with great poetry through a dynamic recitation competition.
Representing Tennessee in the National Finals competition is Battle Ground Academy freshman, Kendall Grimes. Kendall won her title as State Champion after competing alongside 21 state finalists at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville earlier this year. This award granted her a $1,000 prize, an additional $1,000 for her school, and a trip to Washington D.C. to compete in the national finals.
“Recent research from the National Endowment for the Arts reveals that for the first time in 15 years, poetry reading is on the rise, particularly among young adults,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Anyone watching a Poetry Out Loud recitation—whether it’s in a classroom or at the national finals—won’t be surprised by this news. It’s always inspiring to see students connect with poems and deliver recitations that display both confidence and understanding of the power of poetry.”
A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be awarded at nationals, including $20,000 for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion, and $10,000 and $5,000 for the second- and third-place finalists. The Poetry Foundation provides and administers all aspects of the monetary prizes awarded and travel arrangements for Poetry Out Loud.
On Tuesday, April 30, 2019, the state champions will compete throughout the day in three semifinal rounds organized by region from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET at Lisner Auditorium at the George Washington University. Kendall’s first recitations will take place between 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, April 30.
The top nine finalists (three from each semi-final round) will advance to the finals competition on Wednesday, May 1, 2019, also at Lisner Auditorium, from 7:00 to 9:15 p.m. ET. Poet, author, and 2018 National Book Award recipient Elizabeth Acevedo will return for the fourth year as host of the National Finals, which will also include a performance by Kansas City-based mother/son duo Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear. Check out the full schedule listed here.