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York County Student Wins State Poetry Out Loud Competition
March 16, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. –The South Carolina Arts Commission announces Joshua Mugabe, a senior at York Preparatory Academy in York County, as the state champion for the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. Mugabe advances to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, which take place April 28-29 in Washington, D.C. The national champion receives a $20,000 scholarship.
As the state champion, Mugabe receives $200 and an all-expense paid trip to compete in the national finals. The York Preparatory Academy library also receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.
Mugabe was one of nine regional finalists who competed at the Columbia Museum of Art during the state finals on March 14. 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, when more than 4,000 students began the competition. Four students were named state finalists and recited a third poem to determine the winner.
Jamie Montagne, a sophomore at Spartanburg Day School (Spartanburg County), was named state runner-up. She receives $100, and her school library receives a $200 poetry book stipend. Amani Huell, a senior at Waccamaw High School (Horry County), was the third state finalist, and Autumn Smith, a senior at Goose Creek High School (Berkeley County), was the fourth state finalist.
Other state finals participants were Nora Grace Smith, Spartanburg High School, Spartanburg County; Blythe Catherine Weddle, Fox Creek High School, Edgefield County; Dasha Miller, Westwood High School, Richland County; Gretchen LeGrand, Aiken High School, Aiken County; and Natalie Myers, Scholars Academy, Horry County.
Competition judges were author and poet Samuel Amadon, an instructor in the MFA program at the USC; author, poet and current S.C. Arts Commission Poetry Fellow Hastings Hensel, a lecturer at Coastal Carolina University; author and Poet Laureate for the city of Columbia Ed Madden, associate professor of English at USC; and author Qiana Whitted, associate professor of English and African-American Studies at USC.
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 South Carolina Arts Commission works with several partners to produce Poetry Out Loud: the Columbia Museum of Art, the "Speaking of Schools" radio program, hosted by Doug Keel and supported by the South Carolina Department of Education, and Hub City Writers Project (Region 1); the town of Blythewood, Bravo Blythewood and the University of South Carolina Sumter: Division of Arts and Letters (Region 2); and the College of Charleston School of Humanities and Social Sciences (Region 3).
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.