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Michigan high school students take the stage for statewide poetry competition

LANSING — On Friday, Mar. 13, and Saturday, Mar. 14, 2020, 36 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 2020 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 1 of competition will be held from 2:30 to 5 p.m. on Friday, Mar. 13. Rounds 2 and 3 will be held from 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Mar. 14.

As partners in Poetry Out Loud — a national poetry recitation program coordinated statewide by Michigan Humanities through a collaboration with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs — high school teachers from St. Joseph to Marquette 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.

“Poetry Out Loud is an impressive showcase of student skill and creative expression each year, and a powerful way for student stories to be shared through the arts and humanities,” Michigan Humanities President and CEO Shelly Hendrick Kasprzycki, said. She continued, “We look forward to seeing the students represent their schools in this fifteenth 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. Michigan’s Poetry Out Loud program is funded through a partnership between Michigan Humanities and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Additional support is generously provided by the Liesel Litzenburger Meijer Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Poetry Foundation. In March 2019, Tajah-Rayne Davise of Calumet High School was named State Champion. Davise went on to represent Michigan in Washington, DC, and will be a featured guest at this year’s State Finals to reflect on her new role as college student at Michigan Technological University.

Please join Michigan Humanities and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs in celebrating the achievements of these students on Mar.13 and 14. If interested, interviews with lead teachers or staff at MH may be arranged.

Michigan Humanities inspires Michiganders to come together in creative and freely expressed ways to deepen our understanding of ourselves and enrich our communities. In carrying out this mission, Michigan Humanities builds awareness and excitement for humanities in everyday life, achieves best practices and sustainability for all humanities programs and services in Michigan, and upholds the following key values:

• Inclusion, diversity, and equity

• Discovery and understanding

• Authentic conversation

• Respectful collaboration

• Meaningful experiences

Michigan Humanities’ vision is for all people of Michigan to experience and understand the importance of humanities to enrich lives.

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than 3.8 million students and 60,000 teachers from 16,000 schools in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

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