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SC Arts Commission Press Releases

S.C. Arts Commission Announces Poetry Out Loud State Champion

March 6, 2012

Media Contacts:

Milly Hough
(803) 734-8698

COLUMBIA, S.C. –The South Carolina Arts Commission announces Sam Gutshall, a senior at Bishop England High School in Charleston, as the state champion for the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. Gutshall advances to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, which take place in Washington, D.C., May 13-15.


As the state champion, Gutshall receives $200 and an all-expense paid trip to compete in the national finals, where the winner will receive a $20,000 scholarship. The Bishop England High School library also receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.


Gutshall was one of 10 regional finalists who competed at the Columbia Museum of Art during state finals March 3. Each recited two poems they had memorized and perfected during school wide and regional competitions that took place throughout the state from October to January. More than 4,000 students competed statewide.


Ashley Kiley, a sophomore at Crescent High School in Anderson County, was named runner-up. She receives $100, and her school library receives a $200 poetry book stipend.


Other state finals participants were Robert Massey, Andrew Jackson High School, Lancaster County; Raina Hill, Buford High School, Lancaster County; Carissa B. Wideman, Spartanburg High School, Spartanburg County; Janay Chisholm, Irmo High School, Lexington County; Benjamin Crawford, Richland Northeast High School, Richland County; Amira Wright, Ridge View High School, Richland County; Khristina Kennedy, Ridgeland High School, Jasper County; and Tyler Rhorick, Scholars Academy, Horry County.


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. .


Collaborating with the Arts Commission to carry out this year's statewide program are the Columbia Museum of Art, the “Speaking of Schools” Program with Doug Keel, supported by the S.C. Department of Education, The Humanities CouncilSC, Hub City Writers Project, Sumter County Cultural Commission, USC 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.


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.