Two Local Students Win Regional Poetry Contest, Advance to State Competition

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ESD 112 held its annual regional Poetry Out Loud competition in Vancouver on Wednesday, January 22. Out of eight total regional competitors, two Southwest Washington high school students were selected as the region’s winners. The student winners are Yeshi Berry of Vancouver School of Arts and Academics (Vancouver Public Schools) and Amy Eells of Battle Ground High School (Battle Ground Public Schools). These students will advance to the state competition in March.

The competition, presented in partnership with the Washington State Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

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. Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure. Beginning at the classroom level, winners advance to a schoolwide competition, then to regional and state competitions, and ultimately to the National Finals in Washington, DC. More than 300,000 students nationwide took part in Poetry Out Loud last year.

At ESD 112, students recited works they selected from an anthology of more than 700 classic and contemporary poems. Judges evaluated student performances on criteria including voice and articulation, evidence of understanding, and accuracy. Teachers introduced poetry recitation in the classroom using materials created by the NEA and the Poetry Foundation, including a standards-based Teacher’s Guide, a website, a Learning Recitation DVD, and a CD featuring poetry recitations by well-known actors and writers such as Anthony Hopkins and Rita Dove.

The ESD 112 winners will advance to the Washington State Poetry Out Loud contest in Tacoma, Washington, on Saturday, March 7, 2020. The Washington state champion will then advance to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals April 27-29, 2020 in Washington, D.C., where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed.

To learn more about Poetry Out Loud, visit

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