March 20, 2014
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Wheeling Park High School’s Austin Gage will represent West Virginia at the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest in Washington, D.C., on April 29-30.
Gage won the state competition hosted by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History (WVDCH) and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts on Saturday, March 15, at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston.
Tyler Hammack of Roane County High School was the runner-up.
Gage recited I Find no Peace by Thomas Wyatt, Strange Meeting by Wilfred Owen and [i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]by E.E. Cummings. His teacher is Gale Adams.
Hammack’s poems included A March in the Ranks Hard-Prest, and the Road Unknown by Walt Whitman, I Am Offering This Poem by Jimmy Santiago Baca and Sheltered Garden by H.D. (born Hilda Doolittle). His teacher is Michelle Painter.
Twenty-four students from high schools in 20 counties competed in the semifinals on Friday, March 14, 2014, with the top 10 contestants competing Saturday for the state final. A complete list of semifinalists and their schools is attached. Top 10 winners are also noted.
Gage received $200 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national finals. Wheeling Park High School received a $500 stipend to buy poetry books.
As the runner-up, Hammack received $100 and $200 for his school library.
West Virginia artist Matt Thomas of Gilmer County created an artistic trophy for the winning student and a traveling trophy, which will be on display at Gage’s school for a year.
Poetry Out Loud is a poetry recitation contest sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry Magazine, the oldest English-language monthly publication dedicated to verse. The program is designed to encourage high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.
Renée Margocee, director of arts for the division, said “We are proud to facilitate a program that reaches thousands of young people and teachers across the country. The high quality and thoughtful curriculum enables teachers to inspire a love of classical poetry while exploring the exciting world of contemporary poets.”
For more information about the Poetry Out Loud and the state semifinal and final competition, contact Jim Wolfe, arts in education coordinator for the division, at (304) 558-0240.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
POETRY OUT LOUD CONTESTANTS
Nadye Menking-Hoggatt, Capital High School, Kanawha County (Top 10)
Hannah Strom, Nitro High School, Kanawha County
Grace Pitt, Hurricane High School, Hurricane, Putnam County (Top 10)
Carol Desper, Braxton County High School, Sutton, Braxton County (Top 10)
Alexandria Runyon, Cabell Midland High School, Ona, Cabell County
Kristen Abigail Hensley, Chapmanville Regional High School, Chapmanville, Logan County
Brooke King, Ripley High School, Ripley, Jackson County (Top 10)
McGinnis Dalton, Logan High School, Logan, Logan County
Autumn White, Meadow Bridge High School, Meadow Bridge, Fayette County
John Bard, Richwood High School, Richwood, Nicholas County
Tyler Hammack, Roane County High School, Spencer, Roane County (Runner-up)
Mary-Kate Bostick, Woodrow Wilson High School, Beckley, Raleigh County (Top 10)
Caylee Hope, Bridgeport High School, Bridgeport, Harrison County
Sabrina Dahlia, East Fairmont High School, Fairmont, Marion County
Neely Seams, Greenbrier East High School, Lewisburg, Greenbrier County
Karissa Cox, Greenbrier West High School, Charmco, Greenbrier County
Luke White, Lewis County High School, Weston, Lewis County (Top 10)
McKenzie Channell, Lincoln High School, Shinnston, Harrison County
Jessica Kimble, Tyler Consolidated High School, Sistersville, Tyler County
Selena Dennison, Webster County High School, Upper Glade, Webster County
Austin Gage, Wheeling Park High School, Wheeling, Ohio County (Winner)
Sarah Jones, Wirt County High School, Elizabeth, Wirt County
Sarah Beth Ealy, Morgantown High School, Morgantown, Monongalia County (Top 10)
Ciera Kinder, Sherman High School, Seth, Boone County
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MEDIA NOTE: Photographs of the State Final Competition are available at our website at