The Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) recently released the names of the semi-finalists for its 2014 Poetry Out Loud competition.
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation created the Poetry Out Loud competition to encourage students in grades 9-12 to learn about poetry through memorizing and performing poems. MAC says that the program helps students develop public-speaking skills, self-confidence and reading comprehension. Students also learn about their literary heritage through poetry.
The contest starts at the classroom level and goes from there, with students from each region—north, south and central—of Mississippi advancing to the state level.
This year, MAC chose nine semi-finalists, three from each region:
Danielle Cameron, Sumrall High School Joy Carino, Starkville High School Corey Davis, Clinton Christian Academy Lawson Marchetti, Jackson Preparatory School Asia Montgomery, Columbia High School Casey Park, The Washington School, Greenville, Miss. Whitney Porter, Independence High School, Coldwater, Miss. Andre Vincent, Ridgeland High School Victoria Wilson, Mississippi School of the Arts, Brookhaven, Miss.
Each contestant will recite two poems from a 600-poem anthology. Three finalists will then read a third poem, and MAC will award them first, second or third place. The winner of the Mississippi Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest will receive $200 and the school will receive $500 to purchase poetry books. The state champion will go to the Poetry Out Loud nationals, where he or she will compete for $50,000 in prizes and school stipends. The National Champion will receive $20,000.
The semi-finalists will recite poetry at the state finals March 6 at 1 p.m. in the Mississippi Public Broadcasting studios (3825 Ridgewood Road). The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit arts.ms.gov.