MaryKate Wright of Owosso High School

The 2017 National Finals will be held April 25-26, 2017 at the Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University. The semifinals and finals will be webcast live. Cheer on our State Champion MaryKate Wright from Owosso High School on Tuesday, April 25 – 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

FOLLOW: Poetry Out Loud is on Twitter at @PoetryOutLoud and @NEAarts, #POL17.

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MaryKate Wright of Owosso High School, was named the 2017 Michigan Poetry Out Loud State Champion after a day-long recitation competition at Lansing Convention Center in Lansing on March 3. Ms. Wright took top honors among 39 student competitors, reciting “When You Are Old” by William Butler Yeats in her final round. First runner-up was Lyndon DeFoe of University High School Academy in Lathrup Village, second runnerup was Arrianna Lister of Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte, and a tie for third runner-up was Paige MacGillis of Williamston High School and Grace Garver of Petoskey High School.

“The Michigan Humanities was proud to see the students and their wonderful talent today,” said Shelly Kasprzycki, Executive Director. “Young people are the hope for the future of Humanities and we look forward to watching MaryKate represent Michigan at the National Competition in April. We are so proud of each one of the students that have taken part of Poetry Out Loud this year.”

Left to right: Lyndon DeFoe, MaryKate Wright,Paige MacGillis, Grace Garver, and Arrianna Lister

As the state champion, MaryKate received a $200 cash award, $500 stipend for her school and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to represent Michigan at the National Poetry Out Loud competition in April 2017. The national competition will be live-streamed at Lyndon, as runner-up, received a $100 cash award and $200 for his school. All five 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 70,000 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 visit or call 517-372-7770.

Poetry Out Loud School Champions

Anastasia Moutzalias, Allen Park High School ,Allen Park
MacKenzie Mollison, Seaholm High School, Birmingham
Leah Riutta, Calumet High School ,Calumet
Cheyenne Scott, Charlevoix Middle/High School, Charlevoix
Jalen Reaves, Henry Ford High School, Detroit
Pamela Beltran, Cass Technical High School, Detroit
Ariel Brown, Detroit School of Arts, Detroit
Iyana Watts, Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School, Detroit
Alyssia Credit, Old Redford Academy Preparatory High School, Detroit
Olivia Van Duyne, Carman-Ainsworth High School, Flint
Azaariah Mattingly, Powers Catholic High School, Flint
Basil Gray, Leelanau School, Glen Arbor
Cole Peterson, Houghton High School, Houghton
Skylar Vickery, Westwood High School, Ishpeming
Eli Hamlet, Grant River Preparatory High School, Kentwood
Emily Whittaker, Kensington Woods School, Lakeland
Sophie Tomasi, Churchill High School, Livonia
Josh Fleszar, Manistee Catholic Central High School, Manistee
Anikka Jordan, Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School, Marine City
Roxy Sprowl, Marquette Senior High School, Marquette
Andre Buckley, HH Dow High School, Midland
Anna Wiggins, Calvary Baptist Academy, Midland
Alexander Wagner, Detroit Catholic Central High School, Novi
Mary Kate Wright, Owosso High School, Owosso
Jaxon Anderson, Pentwater Public Schools, Pentwater
Grace Garver, Petoskey High School, Petoskey
Alexandra Romo, Portage Central High School, Portage
Reece Brosco, Portage Northern High School, Portage
Jordan Kovach, Riverview Community High School, Riverview
Katelyn Zajac, Stoney Creek High School, Rochester Hills
Julia Shepard, Royal Oak High School, Royal Oak
Nealie Tinlin, Shrine Catholic High School, Royal Oak
India Pruette, Saline High School, Saline
Lyndon DeFoe, University High School Academy, Southfield
Robinson Nkwami, Paul K. Cousino High School, Warren
Cianna Machado, Waterford Mott High School, Waterford
Paige MacGillis, Williamston High School, Williamston