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Illinois Arts Council Agency Announces Poetry Out Loud State Final

Press Release - Monday, March 04, 2013

ILLINOIS -- The Illinois Arts Council Agency is pleased to announce Illinois’ 2012-2013 Poetry Out Loud State Final, featuring recitations by sixteen regional contest winners. The event will take place on Friday, March 8, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. in Springfield’s Hoogland Center for the Arts. Attendance is free, open to the public, and accessible.

Five thousand eight hundred forty-eight students from 54 Illinois high schools participated in this year’s Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, a free program created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to encourage youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. The Illinois Arts Council Agency implements Poetry Out Loud statewide as a collaborative project with seven regional partners.  

The Illinois Poetry Out Loud State Champion will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in April, to compete for the national championship. The state champion's school will also receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books, and a runner-up will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. Additionally, a total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends will be awarded to the winners at the National Finals.

The sixteen students who will compete at the Illinois Poetry Out Loud statewide championship are:

Central Illinois
Charday Crawford
Southeast High School (Springfield)
Central Illinois
Annie Kefalas
St. Teresa High School (Decatur)
Chicagoland - City
Miona Short
Walter Payton High School (Chicago)
Chicagoland - City
Raymond Hutchison
Taft High School (Chicago)
Chicagoland - Suburbs
Melissa Daniels
Homewood-Flossmoor High School (Flossmoor)
Chicagoland - Suburbs
Raphael Mathis
Plainfield East High School (Plainfield)
Eastern Illinois
Alexx Valdez
Urbana High School (Urbana)
Eastern Illinois
Janjay Knowlden
Champaign Central High School (Champaign)
Northern Illinois
Anna Lepke
Jefferson High School (Rockford)
Northern Illinois
Caitlin Harmon
Auburn High School (Rockford)
South Central Illinois
Emily Swanson
Edwardsville High School (Edwardsville)
South Central Illinois
Elixxa Warner
Alton High School (Alton)
Southern Illinois
Kristin Doty
Agape Christian School (Marion)
Southern Illinois
Bryce Wiley
Agape Christian School (Marion)
Western Illinois
Brianna Gray
United Township High School (East Moline)
Western Illinois
Shelby Hoffman
Orion High School (Orion)

For more information regarding Illinois’ regional and school Poetry Out Loud competitions, please contact the Illinois Arts Council Agency’s partnering organization directly:

Central Illinois
Springfield Area Arts Council
Sheila Walk
Literature for All of Us
Liz McCabe
Eastern Illinois
40 North/88 West (Champaign)
Amanda Baker
Northern Illinois
Rockford Area Arts Council
Sharon Nesbit-Davis
South Central Illinois
Jacoby Arts Center (Alton)
Melissa Crockett
Southern Illinois
Carbondale Community Arts
Nancy Stemper
Western Illinois
Quad City Arts (Rock Island)
Tracy Alan White

For more information about the Poetry Out Loud program, visit

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