On Friday, March 2, 2018, forty-one high school students from around the state will take center stage for three rounds of poetry recitation and the chance to be named Michigan’s 2018 Poetry Out Loud Champion. The competition, free and open to the public, will be held at the Lansing Crowne Plaza, 925 S. Creyts Rd, Lansing, MI 48917, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The awards ceremony will begin at 3:30 p.m.

Forty-six Michigan high schools challenged their students to learn about great poetry while building their public speaking skills in Poetry Out Loud, a national poetry recitation competition for high school students. At the state competition, 41 school champions will compete in three rounds of recitation for the chance to be named this year’s state champion.

The state champion receives a $1200 cash award, $1500 stipend for his or her school, and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to represent Michigan at the national competition this April 23-25. The first runner-up will receive $600, with $700 for his or her school. The second runner-up will receive $200, with $200 for his or her school. The third runner-up will receive $100, with $100 for his or 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.

The national champion will receive a $20,000 college scholarship.

Participating students represent new and returning school partners across Michigan; many are traveling to Lansing from Greater Detroit, Midland, Grand Rapids, the Leelanau Peninsula, and Upper Peninsula.

In 2017, State Champion MaryKate Wright was the school champion from Owosso High School in Shiawassee County. MaryKate went on to represent Michigan in Washington D.C.

We are very excited to welcome educator and writer Peter Markus, poet and professor Cindy Hunter Morgan, and Detroit non-profit InsideOut Literary Arts to the Michigan competition this year. Markus and Morgan will lead poetry workshops for participating students and teachers on Thursday evening. Youth from InsideOut Literary Arts’ Citywide Poets program will perform for the competition audience on March 2 at 2:45 p.m.Poetry Out Loud is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation, and is hosted locally by the Michigan Humanities and Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Support is also provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Meijer.

Please join us in celebrating the achievement of these students. If interested, interviews with lead teachers or staff at MH may be arranged.

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