The West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts are announcing that Carolyn Rose Garcia, a senior at Notre Dame High School in Clarksburg, Harrison County, who was the state’s Poetry Out Loud winner, advanced to compete in the final round of the National Poetry Out Loud Competition in Washington, D.C. Garcia was one of 12 finalists selected from 52 national champions who participated in the third annual poetry recitation contest sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation.
Garcia and the other 11 finalists received a $1,000 scholarship and each student’s school received $500 to purchase poetry books.
In March, Garcia competed in the state finals held at the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater at the Cultural Center in Charleston. For that win, Garcia received $200 plus an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the finals April 27 - 29. Three semi-final rounds were held on Monday, April 28 and the final round on Tuesday, April 29.
More than 200,000 high school students from 1,500 schools nationwide participated in the competition. The winner, 16-year-old Shawntay A. Henry from St. Thomas, Virginia Islands, captured the title of 2008 Poetry Old Loud National Champion. Along with her title, Henry won a $20,000 scholarship and her school won a $500 stipend to purchase poetry books.
Special guest judges presided over the competition, including Garrison Keillor, host of the radio show “A Prairie Home Companion;” Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey; novelist and journalist Leslie Schwartz; Poetry Daily editor Don Selby; 2007 Poetry Old Loud National Champion Amanda Fernandez; and memoirist, activist, and poet Luis Rodriguez.
Poetry Out Loud is a program designed to encourage high school-age students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition. John Barr, president of the Poetry Foundation, says “The public recitation of great poetry is a way to honor the speaker, the poem, and the audience all at once.”
For more information about the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, contect Jeff Pierson, director of the arts section for the Division, at (304) 558-0240, ext. 717.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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