Kristen Dupard | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Kristen Dupard

Photo by Courtesy James Kegley, National Endowment for the Arts

Years of learning how to bring poems to life for an audience paid off for Kristen Dupard this spring, as she took home a national trophy for her poetry-recitation skills.

Dupard, a recent graduate from Ridgeland High School, won the national Poetry Out Loud competition in Washington, D.C., May 15. Dupard has represented Mississippi in the competition twice before, but this was the first year she advanced to the final round.

During the competition, Dupard recited three poems: "Invitation to Love" by Paul Laurence Dunbar, "What Work is" by Philip Levine and "I'm a Fool to Love You" by Cornelius Eady.

For her hard work, Dupard will receive a $20,000 award, and Ridgeland High School will receive $500 to purchase poetry books.

Dupard moved to Ridgeland in 2007 after Hurricane Katrina hit her native city of New Orleans. In addition to competing in Poetry Out Loud, she has participated in her school's debate club, the Thespian Society, a mathematics honor society and the Key Club. Entergy Mississippi recently awarded her $500 for her work as a Junior Diplomat for the Ridgeland Chamber of Commerce.

For more information about the Poetry Out Loud contest or to learn about how schools can hold their own competitions, visit or contact the Mississippi Arts Commission.

Previous Comments


Way to go, Kristen! Totally deserved honor.


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