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S.C. Arts Commission Press Releases

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



March 8, 2011

Media Contact:

Milly Hough
(803) 734-8698


LeeAnn Swager
S.C. Poetry Out Loud
State Champion

Savannah Miller
S.C. Poetry Out Loud

COLUMBIA, S.C. –The S.C. Arts Commission announces LeeAnn Swager, a senior at Ridge View High School in Columbia, as the state champion for the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. Swager is advancing to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, which takes place in Washington, D.C., April 27-29.


As the state champion, Swager receives $200 and an all-expense paid trip to compete in the national finals, where the National Endowment for the Arts will award $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends. The Ridge View High School library also receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.


Swager was one of nine finalists who competed at the Columbia Museum of Art during state finals Saturday. Each recited three poems they had memorized and perfected during schoolwide and regional competitions that took place throughout the state from October to January.


Savannah Miller, a junior at Charleston County School for the Arts, was named runner-up. She receives $100, and her school library receives a $200 poetry book stipend.


Other participants included Susannah Schools of Ashley Hall, Adam O. Carter of Ridgeland High School, Rebekah Bowen of Covenant Classical Christian School, and Gabrielle Guthrie of Pathways for Scholars.


Kayla Bullock of Blue Ridge High School, Katie Moore of Pendleton High School, and McKenzie Wilson of Spartanburg High School also participated.


2011 S.C. Poetry Out Loud
Winner and Runner-Up

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 200,000 students in all U.S. states and the U.S. Virgin Islands competed. The winner received a $20,000 scholarship.


Collaborating with the Arts Commission to carry out this year's statewide program are Hub City Writers Project, Sumter County Cultural Commission, the University of South Carolina Sumter, the Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts, the College of Charleston, The Humanities Council SC, South Carolina Department of Education, South Carolina ETV Radio's “Speaking of Schools” program with Doug Keel, and the Columbia Museum of Art. For more, contact Frances Kablick at FMKablick@arts.sc.gov or (803) 734-8639.



About the S.C. 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.