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SC Arts Commission Press Releases

S.C. Arts Commission Names Poetry Out Loud State Finalists

Feb. 10, 2012

Media Contacts:

Milly Hough
(803) 734-8698

COLUMBIA, S.C. –The South Carolina Arts Commission is proud to announce the state finalists in the state's 2011-2012 Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. All ten students advance to the March 3 state finals to compete for South Carolina's spot in the POL national finals and a shot at a $20,000 scholarship.


Those students are:


  • Robert Massey, Andrew Jackson H.S., Lancaster County
  • Raina Hill, Buford High School, Lancaster County
  • Ashley Kiley, Crescent High School, Anderson County
  • Carissa B. Wideman, Spartanburg High School, Spartanburg County



  • Janay Chisholm, Irmo High School, Lexington County
  • Benjamin Crawford, Richland Northeast H.S., Richland County
  • Amira Wright, Ridge View High School, Richland County



  • Sam Gutshall, Bishop England H.S., Charleston County
  • Khristina Kennedy, Ridgeland High School, Jasper County
  • Tyler Rhorick, Scholars Academy, Horry County


Students participated in one of three regional competitions, which took place in Spartanburg, Sumter, and Charleston Jan. 21-22. Students advance from classroom-level to school-wide competitions, and finally to regional contests for the chance to compete in state finals. State champions will compete in the national finals May 13-15 in Washington, D.C.  


The state champion receives $200, a $500 stipend to purchase poetry books for their school library, and an all-expense paid trip to the national finals. A runner-up receives $100, and their library receives a $200 poetry book stipend.


The state finals will be held at the Columbia Museum of Art from 1- 3 p.m. In attendance will be Garrick Davis, Program Manager, Poetry Out Loud, Arts Education & Literature, National Endowment for the Arts.


Poetry Out Loud, a program created in 2005 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement. Students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage while gaining an appreciation of poetry. Last year more than 365,000 students nationwide competed. The winner received a $20,000 scholarship.


Collaborating with the Arts Commission to carry out this year's statewide program are the Columbia Museum of Art, the South Carolina Department of Education and South Carolina ETV Radio's “Speaking of Schools” Program with Doug Keel, The Humanities Council SC, Hub City Writers Project, Sumter County Cultural Commission, University of South Carolina Sumter Division of Arts and Letters, Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts, and the College of Charleston School of Humanities and Social Sciences. For more, contact Frances Kablick Keel at FMKablick@arts.sc.gov.


About the South Carolina Arts Commission:
The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants and leadership initiatives in three areas: arts education, community arts development and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696.