The annual Poetry Out Loud high school poetry recitation finals will be held at the Smyrna Opera House on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. The event is free and the public is welcome to attend.

The annual Poetry Out Loud high school poetry recitation finals will be held at the Smyrna Opera House on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. The event is free and the public is welcome to attend.

Scott F. Mason, president of Chapel Street Players and award-winning actor, playwright, and director will serve as the Master of Ceremonies and introduce the speakers.

He will be followed by Paul Weagraff, director of the Delaware Division of the Arts and the Honorable Jeffrey W. Bullock, State of Delaware secretary of state, who will greet contestants and give opening remarks.

J. Mack Wathen, chair of Delaware State Arts Council will conclude by recognizing the panel of adjudicators.

Each of the 13 participants will recite three poems that they have selected, studied, and practiced, representing more than 40 different poets including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Langston Hughes, Lord Byron, Lewis Carroll, and Gwendolyn Brooks. The recitations are inspiring, moving, sometimes humorous, and always engaging. The winner will receive $200 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC, to compete in the national championship from April 25-26, where $50,000 in cash prizes and school stipends are awarded.

The 2017 Poetry Out Loud participants are:

Glynnis Leach, Concord High School,

Carly LePore, Dover High School,

Shalyn Littlejohn, Hodgson Vo-Tech High School,

Natalie Nwanekwu, Newark Charter Jr./Sr. High School,

Shannon Murray, Padua Academy,

Nick Thompson, Polytech High School,

Ryan Washington, Sanford School,

Tania Laurent, Seaford High School,

Mollie Russell, St. Mark’s High School,

Sam McGarvey, Tall Oaks Classical School,

Jane Krukiel, Ursuline Academy,

Andrew Dingwall, Wilmington Christian School,

Cecilia Ergueta, Wilmington Friends School.

About the judges

Adjudicators include Chantalle Ashford, Russell Susumu Endo, Ajit Matthew George, Joseph Masiello, Devon Miller-Duggan, and Jane Rubini. They bring their personal and professional experience as poets, educators, and performing artists to judge the participants on physical presence, voice and articulation, appropriateness of dramatization, level of difficulty, evidence of understanding, overall performance, and accuracy.

Delaware State Arts Council member, Dr. Donna Blakey, will serve as the accuracy judge, ensuring that competitors recite the poems correctly.

About Poetry Out Loud

The Delaware Division of the Arts sponsors the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest program in Delaware schools and the state finals. Competition begins at the classroom level in the fall and culminates with the state finals each spring. Twenty schools and over 2,000 Delaware students participated in the Poetry Out Loud program in the current academic year. The Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest competition is presented in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.