CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – One West Virginia high school student will be representing the Mountain State on the national stage after winning the state Poetry Out Loud competition.
Bridgeport High School student Morgan Sprouse will represent West Virginia in the 2023 Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, D.C. on May 8-10.
Sprouse won the state competition hosted by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts on Saturday, March 11, at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. Willow Peyton of St. Marys High School was named the state runner-up.
Sprouse recited “Perhaps the World Ends Here” by Joy Harjo, “Shall earth no more inspire thee” by Emily Bronte, and “I Am Offering this Poem” by Jimmy Santiago Baca.
Peyton’s poems included “Whenever you see a tree” by Padma Venkatraman, “Poetry” by Lydia Huntley Sigourney, and “This Most Perfect Hill” by Lisa Jarnot.
Forty-one students from high schools in 28 counties competed in the semifinals on Friday, March 10, 2023, with the top 10 contestants competing Saturday in the state final. A complete list of semifinalists and their schools is attached. Top 10 finalists and Top 5 finalists also are noted.
Sprouse will receive $200 and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the national finals. Bridgeport High School will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry books and materials. The school’s Poetry Out Loud coordinator is Jared St. Martin Brown.
As the runner-up, Peyton will receive $100 and her school will receive $200 to purchase poetry materials. St. Marys High School’s Poetry Out Loud coordinator is Paige Cook.
Both students received trophies created by West Virginia artist Matt Thomas of Gilmer County.
Poetry Out Loud is a poetry recitation contest sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry Magazine, the oldest English-language monthly publication dedicated to verse. The program is designed to encourage high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.
Beginning at the classroom level, more than 4,800 students and 153 teachers at 46 West Virginia high schools participated in the Poetry Out Loud program this year.