Poetry Out Loud, A Dazzling Display of Literary Competence, Courage, and Compassion

Poetry Out Loud 2020 Participants

On Wednesday, December 11th, the MVSD and The Merc hosted the Eighth Annual Poetry Out Loud competition involving students from Liberty Bell High School and the Independent Learning Center.

Those in attendance were treated to a series of exceptional performances displayed by each student, making the selection process challenging for the panel of esteemed judges. However, at the end of the night, LBHS student, Cymone Van Marter and ILC student, Chloe Blum took top honors for each their schools, advancing the regional finals scheduled to take place on January 30 in Spokane. Cymone Van Marter and Chloe Blum were closely followed by Lena Nelson who took second place and Connor Herlihy in third place.

For the past seven years, the MVSD has sponsored a robust Poetry Out Loud competition through a collaboration between Methow Arts, Public School Funding Alliance, and The Merc Theatre. Each December, local high school students compete for slots at local, regional, and state POL competitions.

Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national memorization and recitation contest that helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life.

Created in 2006 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud gives students an opportunity to work with recitation coaches who help students select poems from the anthology of allowed poems, provide them with structure for memorization, and coach them on performance skills such as projection, pacing, emphasis, and movement. Poetry coaches tutor students throughout the duration of the competition as students advance to the next level.

The winner of the local competition advances to the Eastern Washington Regional Poetry Out Loud contest in Spokane, and have a chance to make it to the state championship. The Washington state champion will advance to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, D.C.

Beginning with Tom Zbyszewski in 2013, it’s been five times in the past seven years that a Liberty Bell student has won one of two top slots at the regional competition and advanced to the state event. Regional winners that have followed Tom Zbyszewski have included: Liam Daily (2014), Claire Waichler (2015), Lilly Cooley (2016), Mia Stratman (2017), and Mackenzie Woodworth (2018).

Please join us as we congratulate our Poetry Out Loud Participants, their coaches, and thank Methow Arts, Public School Funding Alliance, and The Merc for their continued support of our students!