Grace Garver from Petoskey High School, was named the 2018 Michigan Poetry Out Loud State Champion after a day-long recitation competition at the Lansing Crowne Plaza on Friday, March 2, 2018.

Ms. Garver took top honors among 39 student competitors, reciting “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus in her final round. First runner-up was Jaxon Anderson of Pentwater Public Schools, second runner-up was Avery Fessenden of Leland Public Schools, and third runner-up was India Pruette of Saline High School.

“The students’ recitations are absolutely phenomenal,” said Shelly Kasprzycki, Michigan Humanities President & CEO. “This takes poise, intelligence and a real fire in your belly to compete at the state level. We are excited to watch Grace represent Michigan at the National Competition in April. We are so proud of each one of the students that participated in Poetry Out Loud this year.”

As state champion ­­­­­Ms Garver receives a $1200 cash award, $1500 stipend for her school, and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to represent Michigan at the national competition this April 23-25, 2018. The national competition will be live-streamed at

The first runner-up Mr. Anderson will receive $600, with $700 for his school. The second runner-up Ms. Fessenden will receive $200, with $200 for her school. The third runner-up Ms. Pruette will receive $100, with $100 for her school. Student and school prizes at the state level are funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Liesel Litzenburger Meijer Fund. All four state finalists will receive plaques commemorating their achievement. The national champion will receive a $20,000 college scholarship.

Poetry Out Loud, a national high school recitation competition, encourages youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance, while also mastering public speaking skills, building self-confidence and learning about literary heritage. The program has engaged more than 78,000 students since the Michigan Humanities and Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs began hosting it in 2005.

The program is open to all high schools, including home-school groups. Registration for the next program will open this fall. If teachers or parents would like to learn more about this program, please click here or call 517-372-7770.

2017-18 Poetry Out Loud School Champions

Faith Anderson Allen Park High School Allen Park
Leah Riutta Calumet High School Calumet
Ana Smith Charlevoix High School Charlevoix
Nicole Baker Detroit School of Arts Detroit
Bianca Lockhart Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School Detroit
Terrance Phillips Jr. Old Redford Academy Preparatory High School Detroit
Zia Sloan Carman-Ainsworth High School Flint
Basil Gray The Leelanau School Glen Arbor
Benjamin Edwards Grand Rapids Innovation Central High School Grand Rapids
Caitlyn Lovelace Grand Rapids Montessori High School Grand Rapids
Ilya Holden Houghton Portage Township High School Houghton
Avery Evans Westwood High School Ishpeming
Eli Hamlet Grand River Preparatory Kentwood
Emily Whittaker Kensington Woods Schools Lakeland
Alivia Benedict Lakewood High School Lake Odessa
Derek Carter University High School Academy Lathrup Village
Avery Fessenden Leland Public School Leland
Max Papenfuss Manistee Catholic Central High School Manistee
Roxy Sprowl Marquette Senior High School Marquette
Jacob Barnett Melvindale High School Melvindale
Jenna Wallenbeck Calvary Baptist Academy Midland
Claire Newman H.H. Dow High School Midland
James Broderick Detroit Catholic Central High School Novi
Dora Ivkovich Okemos High School Okemos
Katilyn Griffin Owosso High School Owosso
Jaxon Anderson Pentwater Public Schools Pentwater
Grace Garver Petoskey High School Petosky
Matthew Hurwitz Portage Northern High School Portage
Alicia Cotter Riverview Community High School Riverview
Savannah Young Rochester High School Rochester Hills
Katelyn Zajac Stoney Creek High School Rochester Hills
Chloe Malinich Royal Oak High School Royal Oak
India Pruette Saline High School Saline
Grace Zucco Traverse Bay Area Career-Tech Center Traverse City
Lolita Roy Cousino High School Warren
Lucy Nguyen Waterford Mott High School Waterford Township
Jayla Woodley West Bloomfield High School West Bloomfield
Olivia Estep Williamston High School Williamston
Aiyanna Fivecoat Roosevelt High School Wyandotte
Tressa Garcia Yale High School Yale
Marney Brown Early College Alliance at EMU Ypsilanti