National Recitation Contest

Poetry Out Loud logo

Each year, the SCAC joins national partners to bring Poetry Out Loud® to South Carolina high school students.

The National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation present Poetry Out Loud with the help of statewide arts partners like the SCAC in all 50 states, American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

South Carolina partner

Richland Library logo





The program seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry—recitation and performance. Visit the Poetry Out Loud website by clicking here.

In 2018, Janae Claxton of Charleston was the first South Carolina student to win the National Poetry Out Loud competition! Read more on The Hub.

Poetry Out Loud 2023/2024

Two tracks. One competition.

To best serve as many South Carolina students as possible, Poetry Out Loud offers school/organization registration (for schools or organizations and their students, in-person competitions) and individual student registration (a live virtual competition) for those whose school/organization is not participating or are homeschooled.

Additional information

2023/2024 State Finalists

A group shot of the six state finalists in 2024, standing together shoulder to shoulder on an indoor stage.

SCAC photo by Amelia Dupont. Click image to enlarge.

Poetry Out Loud’s competition structure blends the traditional, in-person approach with more inclusive virtual competitions allowing any high school student to compete. Schools who registered held in-person competitions locally while individual students who registered performed virtually in front of judges who named finalists.

The finalists this year come from Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Socastee, and Spartanburg:

    • Jessie Leitzel, senior, Charleston County School of the Arts (Charleston, 2024 champion)
    • Catherine Wooten, senior, Westgate Christian School (Spartanburg, 2023 champion)
    • Abhirami Balachandran, freshman, Calvary Christian School (Myrtle Beach)
    • Eve Decker, sophomore, Spartanburg Day School (Spartanburg)
    • Erin Maguire, junior, Socastee High School (Socastee)
    • Gemma Williams, junior, Ashley Hall (Charleston)

Congratulations to the state finalists and Jessie Leitzel, our 2024 South Carolina champion!

Headshot of Kimberly Washburn MotteI’m here to help!

For assistance or more information, please contact Arts Learning Director Kimberly Washburn Motte (803.734.8694 |