On Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2, 2019, 33 high school students from across the state will take center stage for three rounds of poetry recitation and the chance to be named Michigan’s 2019 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. Round one will take place on the afternoon of March 1, and the final two rounds will take place on the morning of March 2.

As partners in Poetry Out Loud—a national poetry recitation program coordinated statewide by the Michigan Humanities through a collaboration with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs—high school teachers from Calumet to Ypsilanti have challenged their students to learn about and interpret poetry while building their public-speaking skills. Each school champion will have three poems prepared for recitation at the upcoming State Finals competition, and will be judged based on their physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, overall performance, and accuracy.

“What excites us most is that Poetry Out Loud’s impact goes far beyond the contest; it’s an opportunity for Michigan’s high school students to dive deep into poetry, connect with and support their peers, and share their passion for the arts and humanities,” said Shelly Hendrick Kasprzycki, President and CEO at Michigan Humanities. She continued, “We can’t wait to see this year’s students take the stage for our fourteenth year of Michigan’s Poetry Out Loud State Finals.”

The Michigan state champion receives a $1200 cash award, $1500 stipend for their school, and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, to represent Michigan at the national competition and compete for a $20,000 award. At the state level, the first runner-up will receive $600, with $700 for their school. The second runner-up will receive $200, with $200 for their school. The third runner-up will receive $100, with $100 for their school. Student and school prizes at the state level are funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Liesel Litzenburger Meijer Fund. Support for Poetry Out Loud in Michigan is also provided by the Poetry Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Meijer.

In March 2018, Grace Garver of Petoskey High School was named State Champion. Garver went on to represent Michigan in Washington DC and will compete again this year at the State Finals.

Please join the Michigan Humanities and Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs in celebrating the achievements of these students on March 1 and 2. If interested, interviews with lead teachers or Shelly Hendrick Kasprzycki may be arranged.

2019 Poetry Out Loud School Champions

Emily Hammock Allen Park High School Allen Park
Sofia DeSanto The Academy of the Sacred Heart Bloomfield Hills
Tajah-Rayne Davise Calumet High School Calumet
Nisreen Alibeg Star International Academy Dearborn Heights
Samuel Pickens Detroit School of Arts Detroit
Margaret Roberts The Leelanau School Glen Arbor
Laine Kibler Black River Public School Holland
Ilya Holden Houghton High School Houghton
Allen Gibson Lakewood High School Lake Odessa
Lillian Powell Kensington Woods Schools Lakeland
Ivan Paciorka Leland Public School Leland
Reese Papenfuss Manistee Catholic Central High School Manistee
Roxy Sprowl Marquette Senior High School Marquette
Xavier Hernandez Melvindale High School Melvindale
Claire Newman H. H. Dow High School Midland
Faith Howell Calvary Baptist Academy Midland
David DeBacker Detroit Catholic Central High School Novi
Jacob Postell Okemos High School Okemos
Taylor Estes Owosso High School Owosso
Shelby Brown Pentwater High School Pentwater
Grace Garver Petoskey High School Petoskey
Alicia Cotter Riverview Community High School Riverview
Soja Kureekkattil Rochester High School Rochester Hills
Emily Shaver Royal Oak High School Royal Oak
India Pruette Saline High School Saline
Molly Stadler Traverse Bay Area Career-Tech Center Traverse City
Jacquelyn Wrubel Cousino High School Warren
Alyx Fifer Wayne Memorial High School Wayne
Michael Michalak Lakeland High School White Lake
Isaac Jones Williamston High School Williamston
Addison Tracy Roosevelt High School-Wyandotte Wyandotte
Kayla Halleck Yale High School Yale
Xiomara Trujillo Early College Alliance at EMU Ypsilanti