Celebrating Collaboration and Community Partners: The 7th Annual Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Finals Competition

The Arizona Commission on the Arts is proud to celebrate the 7th year of the Arizona Poetry Out Loud Program.

Poetry Out Loud is a partnership between the Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, the national Poetry Foundation, Arizona arts organizations and charter, private and public high schools, and serves nearly 13,000 Arizona high school students each year.

Arizona POL State Finalists, from L to R: Sophia Licher, Rebecca Andersen, Adriana Hurtado, India Parsons, Travis Marino, Arizona Supreme Court Justice Robert M. Brutinel, Mark Anthony Niadas, Joshua Furtado,Cassandra Valadez, John DiMino. Photo by Joe Jankovsky

Poetry Out Loud introduces students to the best in poetry, and through recitation and study, they master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their American literary heritage. Student competitors choose their recitations from the National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Anthology, which includes poems by Sherman Alexie, Maya Angelou, T.S. Elliot, Garrett Hongo, Li-Young Lee, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Arizona’s own, Alberti Rios. Search the anthology by poet or poem.

Arizona Poetry Out Loud would not be possible without the work of our regional partners; Sean Nevin and Salima Keegan from the Arizona State University Young Writers Program, and Renee Angle and Allison Leach from the University of Arizona Poetry Center. They contribute their time, knowledge and great energy to this program. These two organizations serve Arizona’s writers, educators, and residents with programs and activities year round.

Thank you to Joseph Benesh and the Phoenix Center for the Arts for hosting the finals events in. Visit the Phoenix Center for the Arts and see for yourself the vast array of offerings they present almost nightly.

Thank you to Michael Soto for helping to coordinate a luncheon with the student finalists and many of Arizona’s legislators on the day of the event.

Thank you Arizona Commission on the Arts staff, Commissioners, and interns, for your hard work to make Poetry Out Loud a reality in Arizona. A special thanks to Patrick Fanning, our Arts Learning and Special Projects Coordinator, for his incredible management of this program. And thank you to Arts Learning intern, Garrett Pauli, a student at Bioscience High School.

Thank you, Dr. Robert Breunig, Jaime Dempsey, Carole FitzPatrick, Charles Jensen, Dave Mittel and Kelly Nelson, for your time and services as our judges for the final event, and to our emcee, Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch.

Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice, Rebecca White Berch, Arizona 2012 Poetry Out Loud State Champion, Joshua Furtado, and Arizona Commission on the Arts Exectutive Director, Robert Booker. Photo by Joe Jankovsky.

Thank you to everyone who attended the event on Thursday. An especially big thank you to the parents, family members, and friends for all of the support you have given these students over these last months. Thank you to the school administrators for supporting this program at your schools. Thank you to the teachers, for your dedication to your students and your commitment to instilling skills that will stay with them beyond this program and beyond their recitations. And most importantly, thank you to the students for bringing us these words, your voice, and your passion for our future. Each of you is a winner.

Congratulations to the first place runner-up, India Parsons of Westview High School in Avondale, and to our Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Champion, Joshua Furtado of Tucson Magnet High School in Tucson. Joshua will travel to Washington DC May 13-15, 2012 to compete in the Poetry Out Loud National Finals.

2012 Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Champion, Joshua Furtado. Photo by Joe Jankovsky.

To learn more about this national program, visit http://www.poetryoutloud.org/ to find and read poems, discover resources for classroom teachers, and follow the national competition when Joshua heads to Washington, DC this spring.

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