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Joel Barlow High Students Enter Poetry Out Loud Contest

Students from 10 high schools in Fairfield County are expected to take part in the annual Poetry Out Loud contest.
Students from 10 high schools in Fairfield County are expected to take part in the annual Poetry Out Loud contest. Photo Credit:

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Ten high schools from around Fairfield County have registered to participate in Poetry Out Loud, an annual national recitation contest, according to the Connecticut Office of the Arts.

Participating schools are: Bethel High School, Darien High School, Greens Farms Academy in Westport, Greenwich High School, Joel Barlow High School in Redding, Newtown High School, Ridgefield High School, Staples High School in Westport, Westhill High School in Stamford, and Wilton High School.

A record 43 high schools in Connecticut are expected to take part in the contest, which is staged in partnership with Connecticut Humanities and supported by both the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

Schools are now holding workshops with visiting poet-teachers to prepare students for classroom, and then school-wide, poetry contests.

The winners of those contests will advance to a regional meet and then to a state competition on March 15. The Connecticut State Champion will advance to the National Finals, which will take place from May 2 to 4 in Washington, D.C.

Connecticut’s 2015 POL Champion was a finalist in the 2015 National Finals last April.

Owen Elphick, now a senior at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs, was one of more than 365,000 students from 2,300 high schools nationwide who took part in the program last year.

“Many students who've never given poetry a second thought or who shy away from public speaking now carry a poem in their hearts and a bit more confidence on stage,” said Denise Abercrombie, a teacher and English department chair at E.O. Smith High School. “Poetry Out Loud brings poetry alive for our students!”

Each state champion receives $200 and an all‐expenses‐paid trip to Washington, D.C. to enable him or her to compete for the national championship.

The state champion’s school also receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.

The first runner‐up in each state will receive $100, and his or her school library will receive $200.

Poetry Out Loud will award a total of $50,000 in cash and school stipends at the National Finals, including a $20,000 award for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

For further information about the contest and the complete list of participating high schools, click here .

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