After three rounds of competition, Newmarket High School sophmore Lilla Bozek was named as the champion in the New Hampshire Poetry Out Loud state finals. Rachel Budd, a senior at Bow High School, was named alternate champion.
This year 26 high schools across New Hampshire registered to bring the program to their classrooms. Nineteen schools named high school champions as part of their school based competitions; those students then competed in our two state semi-finals. The top eight scoring students advanced to the statewide final championship.
Each student, in the first and second round, was judged on the recitation of two poems. The four top scorers from the first two rounds advanced to the final round where they each recited a third poem. Along with champion Lilla Bozek and alternate Rachel Budd, Oliver Andrews of Kearsarge Regional High School and Deborah Umwiza of Laconia Christian Academy were the other two final round competitors. The remaining four NH state finalists were: Izabella (Izzy) Papa of Dover High School, Evan Bailey of Conant High School, Jade Hall of Brewster Academy, and Daemon Thurber of Kingswood Regional High School.
Due to the pandemic, the school champions submitted their poetry recitations by video which were evaluated by judges based on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, and overall performance. All poems are selected by the students and their teachers from a preapproved anthology of works.
The Poetry Out Loud program was created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation and is administered statewide by the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. Now celebrating its 16th year in New Hampshire, Poetry Out Loud encourages youth to learn about the beauty and power of language through the memorization and performance of great poems. In the process, students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.
The 2021 National Semifinals will take place on Sunday, May 2, and the 2021 National Finals will take place on Thursday, May 27. Both will be video submission-based competitions and will be streamed on arts.gov.
Want to see the performances of our eight state finalists? A video of the 2021 NH Poetry Out Loud Finals can be found here!
Poetry Out Loud was also featured on NH Chronicle –
Friday, April 9th: Poetry Out Loud (wmur.com)
For more information about Poetry Out Loud in New Hampshire, contact Cassandra Mason, Grants Officer, New Hampshire State Council on the Arts at 603-271-7926 or Cassandra.firstname.lastname@example.org