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NH Art News & Calendar Information  

Arts in Education Program

NH Poetry Out Loud Competition
Academic Year 2009 - 2010

Aturo WattsArturo Jaras Watts, a senior at Oyster River High School in Durham, won New Hampshire's fifth Poetry Out Loud championship. Watts represented N.H. in Washington, D.C., April 25-28 at the national competition.

Poetry Out Loud encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance, and helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary and cultural heritage. Students from any NH high school—public, private, parochial, and home schoolers—are welcomed to participate. There is no charge to compete.

The 2009-2010 NH Poetry Out Loud program started in the fall with almost 8,000 high school students from 31 high schools participating. Students memorized and performed poems from a list compiled by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and scored for accuracy and presentation. Finalists from each high school advanced to quarterfinals, and the top four participants from the regionals advanced the finals, which took place at Keene State College.

In addition to merit scholarship offers from Colby-Sawyer College, New England College, and Southern New Hampshire University, Watts received a $200 cash award from The Poetry Foundation. Oyster River High School received $500 to purchase new poetry books.

Sophomore Natalya Tausanovitch of Windham High School was selected as Alternate Champion. She also received merit scholarship offers from the three colleges as well as a $100 cash award from The Poetry Foundation. Her school library received $200 to purchase poetry books.

Natalya Tausanovitch“These young people presented themselves with poise, showed a deep love of the English language and can hold up to competition,” said State Arts Council Acting Director Lynn Martin Graton. “The country has many challenges ahead of it and I can see from this program that the next generation is up to the challenge.”

Judges for the very competitive 2010 event included Walter E. Butts, NH’s Poet Laureate; Dr. Patricia Lindberg, professor of education and coordinator of the M.Ed in Integrated Arts at Plymouth State University; Michele Perkins, president of New England College, Henniker; Frumie Selchen, executive director, the Arts Alliance of Northern NH; Alice Fogel, poet and award winning published writer; and Ann Atkinson, chairperson, Department of Communication, Journalism and Philosophy at Keene State College. The Keene Sentinel’s executive editor, Paul Miller, gave introductory remarks and assisted with presenting awards at the event.

Poetry Out Loud is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Poetry Foundation, with major funding provided by the NEA. The NH program's major sponsors are the NH State Council on the Arts, The Badger Fund of the NH Charitable Foundation.

POL 2010 FinalistsFor learn how your high school can participate in NH’s Poetry Out Loud program, visit the NH State Council on the Arts website:, or contact Rodger Martin, NH Poetry Out Loud Director, (603-525-4715); or Catherine O'Brian, Coordinator, Arts Education Grants and Programs, NH State Council on the Arts (603-271-0795),


All photos by Casey August

  • Top right: POL 2010 Champion, Arturo Jaras Watts, senior at Oyster River High School reciting poetry. 
  • Middle left: POL Alternate Champion, Natalya Tausanovitch, sophomore at Windham High School   
  • Bottom right: Front Row (l-r):  2010 State Alternate Champion Natalya  Tausanovitch, 2010 NH State Champion Arturo Jaras Watts, 2010 Final Four Participant Jillian Peters, 2010 Final Four participant Cote Laramie. Second Row (l-r):  State Finalists: Hanna Zdrnja, Melissa Stevens, Elaine Stevens, Michelle Spoto, Amanda Kruczyski, Rigel Harris, Amanda Comeau, Erin Carr, Calibration poet Stephanie Bilodaeu

NH Poetry Out Loud Semi Finals Results

Poetry Out LoudThe Results are in! During the week of March 8-12, the three NH Poetry Out Loud Regional Semi Finals competitions were held at Southern New Hampshire University, Plymouth State University, and New England College.

The four students with the top cumulative scores from each regional event competed at the fifth NH Poetry Out Loud State Finals Competition, Saturday, March 20, at Keene State College’s Redfern Arts Center, beginning at 1p.m.

The 2009-2010 program, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, NH State Council on the Arts and The Badger Fund of the NH Charitable Foundation,  began in the fall of 2009 with 31 New Hampshire High Schools and almost 8,000 New Hampshire students memorizing a classic American poem drawn from the on-line anthology at  Each of the 31 high school champions and alternate champions received merit scholarship offers of $15,000 from New England College and up to $11,000 from Southern N.H. University. The state champion and alternate champion received merit scholarship offers from Colby-Sawyer College of $12,000 and $10,000.  The state champion received $200 in cash plus an all-expense paid trip to the national championships in Washington, DC, April 25-27, 2010.   The libraries of the champion school received $500 from The Poetry Foundation to purchase poetry books while the library from the alternate champion received $200.  The alternate champion also received a $100 cash check.

Below are the 2010 NH State Finalists:

Eastern Regional:

Melissa Stevens, Cocheco Arts & Technology Academy, 18, gr.12, from Rochester, NH
Melissa won school the POL competition at Cocheco Arts and Technology Academy her freshman year. Her interests include acting, music, writing, and jewelry design. She plans to study psychology and theatre in college.

Elaine Stevens, Good Shepherd School, 15, gr. 10, from Rochester, NH
This is her second year doing Poetry Out Loud. Over the last two years, sge’s grown to love it more and more.She also enjoys singing, guitar, violin, writing, and history. Throughout her childhood she’s done a lot of traveling and has lived most of my life overseas. She thanks God, her supportive family,  and her teacher, one of the greatest people she knows.

Arturo Jaras Watts, Oyster River High School, 18, gr.12, from Durham, NH
was born in Providence, RI, but most of his early childhood took place in Chile. He has lived in the US for the last 14 years. His first love was soccer, but he competes in 1-meter diving and his favorite thing in the world is table tennis.

Michelle Spoto, Winnacunett High School, 17, gr.12, from Hampton Falls, NH
Michelle is a senior at Winnacunnet High School. She enjoys reading, baking, and eating ice cream. After graduation, Michelle plans to study chemistry or biology in college.

Northern Regional:

Kerry Gaudreau, Bishop Brady High School (unable to compete in Finals), 17, gr.12, from Loudon, NH
Kerry Gaudreau is a senior at Bishop Brady High School. She is an active member in her school's drama club, music ministry (choir), Campus Ministry, Brady's habitat for Humanity group, and NHS. She hopes to pursue theatre and elementary education in college. She is excited to take part in this and sees it as a new and enriching chance to perform. Kerry also hopes Bishop Brady will continue to participate in this competition for several years to come.

Cote Laramie, Concord High School, 17, gr.12, from Concord, NH
Cote is a senior at Concord HS and enjoys writing poetry, acting, and music- making. He doesn't know where he's going to college. He might be a scientist. A writer, a science writer, a linguist, or something else entirely. He's ready for whatever life is bringing him.

Hanna Zdrnja, Kingswood Regional High School, 16, gr.11, from Wolfeboro, NH
Hanna Zdrnja is a junior at Kingswood Regional High School in Wolfeboro. She likes to make documentary films and radio news features. She also write news articles for the local paper.

Rigel Harris, Lebanon High School, 17, gr.11, from Lebanon, NH
Rigel is a junior at Lebanon High School who enjoys working as part of both the Youth ensemble and mainstage at Northern Stage, and is looking forward to spending this summer as an intern at the new London Barn Playhouse. When not at the theater, Rigel competes on her school's cross country and skiing teams.

Amanda Comeau, Plymouth Regional High School (Competing in Finals), 18, gr.12, from Campton, NH.  Amanda Comeau is a senior at PRHS and is planning to further her education by enrolling in college. She is looking to obtain a degree in Psychology and pursue a career as a psychologist.

West Regional:

Erin Carr, John Stark Regional High School 
Erin Carr is a senior at John Stark Regional High school who loves the outdoor and farming. She has a strong interest in the arts, especially music, and hopes to study midwifery after graduation.

Jillian Peters, Hopkinton High School
Jillian has been enjoying writing poetry and creative works since she was 8 years old and her works have been published several times. Jillian's dance background includes ballet, modern and scottish highland dance. She recently danced with the Dartmouth Revels in their Christmas show as a guest artist. She plays the flute, bagpipes and violin. Jillian is National Merit Scholar Finalist, president of her class, on the forensics team, the math team and French National Honor Society. This is Jillian's fourth year of participating in Poetry Out Loud.

Amanda Kruczynski, Pembroke Academy, 18, gr.12, from Pembroke, NH
Amanda is returning to Poetry Out Loud for her third and final time. She is currently senior class president at Pembroke Academy and is a major part of her school's drama department. Amanda is looking at attending Richmond University in the fall and hopes to pursue a drama or communications degree.

Natalya Tausanovitch, Windham High School, 15, gr.10, from Windham, NH
Natalya is a sophomore at Windham High School. As an all-around lover of th arts, Natalya enjoys drawing, playing the flute, and acting. Her greatest love, however, is creative writing. Natlaya has a passion for language and is especially fascinated with the sound of celtic dialects. her greatest source of inspiration is the works of JRR Tolkien.

Poetry Out Loud 2010: High School Competitions

Poetry Out Loud The goal of the competition and its accompanying curriculum is to encourage the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. Poetry Out Loud builds on the current resurgence of the spoken word as an art form, inviting the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the classroom. Each high school champion and alternate champion received renewable scholarship awards of $15,000 annually from New England College and up to $11,000 from Southern New Hampshire University.

The high school champions then competed at one of three regional semi-final competitions held the first week of March, 2010. The finalists from these regional events squared off at the state final held at Keene State College on March 20, 2010.

The winner of the state competition received $200 and an all-expenses paid trip (one chaperone included) to the national competition in Washington, D.C., in late April, 2010. Additionally his/her school received $500 for the purchase of poetry books. The individual state runner-up received $100 with an additional $200 award to his/her school for poetry books. Finally, Colby-Sawyer College offered the New Hampshire state champion and runner-up champion, $12,000 and $10,000 scholarships respectively.

Though high school registration is now closed, this year the Keene Public Library conducted its own open POL program for high school home schoolers and high school students whose high schools are not participating this year. New Hampshire students within in transportation distance wishing to participate in that program should contact Youth Librarian Gail Zachariah at the Keene Public Library, (603) 352-0157, for details.  

Regional and Final Competitions

  • March 8, 2010, East Regional, Southern New Hampshire University, Walker Auditorium, Robert Frost Hall, 7 p.m. (snowdate 3-15-10)
  • March 9, 2010, North Regional, Plymouth State University, Smith Recital Hall, Silver Cultural Center, 7 p.m. (snowdate 3-16-10)
  • March 12, 2010, West Regional, New England College, Great Room, Simon Center, 7 p.m. (snowdate 3-16-10)  
  • March 20, 2010, State Finals, Keene State College, Alumni Recital Hall, Redfern Art Center, 3-20-10 1 p.m. (snowdate 3-21-10)

Downloadable Forms for Participating Students:

Don't have Adobe Acrobat Reader®? Click here to download for free!

School Competition Date Snow Date Time Champion Alternate Champion
Belmont High School 2/16/10   1 p.m. Michael Farkas Peter Cloutier
Bishop Brady High School 1/7/10 1/14/10 6 p.m. Molly Todd Aaron Kesselman
Bow High School 2/16/10   9 a.m. Lauren Percy Chelsey Bailey
Cocheco Arts & Technology Academy (Dover Municipal Building) 1/11/10 1/12/10 12:30 p.m. Melissa Stevens Anastasia Holt
Coe Brown Northwood Academy 1/20/10   7 p.m. Christian Leavitt Jessica Goudreault
Concord High School 12/9/09 12/11/09 9:30 a.m. Jacob Godsey Cote Laramie
Derryfield School 1/25/10   10:15 a.m. Stephanie Simonoff   Carolyn Kegel
Exeter High School 2/10/10 2/17/10 9:25 a.m. Gareth Cayten Carly Belche
Goffstown High School 1/28/10 2/4/10 7 p.m. Keith Bouchard Kyle Grant
Good Shepherd School 1/28/10 2/4/10 evening Elaine Stevens Naomie Clark
Holderness School 2/5/10   8 p.m. Salamarie Frazier Charlie Poulin
Home School Group (Keene Public Library) 2/14/10 2/19/10
(7 p.m.)
2 p.m. Matt McDougall Stephanie Bilodeau
Hopkinton Middle High School 2/10/10 2/11/10 6 p.m. Jillian Peters Alyssa Grise
John Stark Regional High School 2/8/10   7 p.m. Erin Carr Samuel Wagner
Kingswood Regional High School 2/9/10 2/11/10   Hanna Zdrnja Currie DeBow
Lebanon High School 12/16/09   12 p.m. Rigel Harris Moriah Morton
LinWood Public School 11/10/09   5 p.m. Nate King Marcy Regalado
Milford High School 1/25/10 1/27/10 6:30 p.m. Cara Brewer Taylor Sacco
Newfound Regional High School 2/2/10     Dylan Collins Rebecca Robinson
Newmarket High School 2/17/10   7 p.m. Steven Cooper Robert Mantegani
Oyster River High School 1/11/10 1/12/10 6 p.m. Arturo Jaras-Watts Sven Wiberg
Parker Academy 12/16/09   9 a.m. Lily Hallett Martha Champagne
Pembroke Academy 2/15/10   6 p.m. Amanda Kruczynski Jennifer Lamontagne
Pittsfield Middle High School 1/14/10     Ayla Liouzis Tim Osborne
Plymouth Regional High School 2/8/10   6:30 p.m. Amanda Comeau Michelle Ambrose
Portsmouth High School 2/16/10   6 p.m. Nicole Rogers Zoe Dilla
Salem High School 1/7/10 1/13/10 6:30 p.m. Amy Burzak Ali Vivinetto
Spaulding High School 2/10/10   6 p.m. Kayla Wheeler Rebecca Martin
Timberlane Regional High School 1/7/10   3 p.m. Molly Lane Evan Dube
Windham High School 1/26/10 1/27/10 6:30 p.m. Natalya Tausanovitch Rebecca Connelly
Winnacunnet High School 2/11/10   6:30 p.m. Michele Spoto Megan Hopkins

 Teachers, students, and poetry lovers are invited to visit The Poetry Foundations Poetry Learning Lab at for more ideas on how to approach poetry. For more information contact Rodger Martin, N.H. POL coordinator, at or 603-525-4715; or Catherine O'Brian, Arts in Education Coordinator, N.H. State Council on the Arts, at 603-271-0795 or

ast updated: August 5, 2011


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