Photo courtesy Star City Photography
Bailee Laws, a senior at Parkview Christian School in Lincoln, was named the 2017 Poetry Out Loud Nebraska State Champion. This is the second time that Parkview Christian School and English teacher Dottie Lamson have sent a student to the national finals since the program began 12 years ago. Laws, along with nine other students from high schools across the state, competed for the title on Saturday, March 11, at the Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln. Thomas Bosmeniel of Seward High School was named first runner-up, and Amanda Pohlman of Skutt Catholic High School in Omaha was named second runner-up.
Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. All Nebraska state finalists advanced through their school and regional competitions to compete in Saturday’s event. At the competition, finalists recited works selected from an anthology of more than 900 classic and contemporary poems, and winners were chosen based on a set of criteria including voice and articulation, evidence of understanding and accuracy.
Laws will receive $200 and an all-expense paid trip with an adult chaperone to compete for the national championship in Washington D.C. April 25-26. Her school will also receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. Bosmeniel will receive $100 and a $200 stipend for his school library. The top three students each received original hand-blown glass trophies courtesy of Nebraskans for the Arts, and all state finalists received poetry books donated by the University of Nebraska Press and the Backwaters Press.
Poetry Out Loud, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation, will award a total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends at the national competition, including a $20,000 scholarship for the national winner. Over the past 11 years, Poetry Out Loud has reached more than 3 million students and 45,000 teachers from 10,000 schools nationwide.
For more information, visit www.poetryoutloud.org.