High School Students Prepare "Poetic License" to Compete for Scholarship Awards

Wednesday, 28 March 2012
ATLANTA - Georgia Council for the Arts has partnered with the Atlanta History Center's Margaret Mitchell House to present the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest state finals. This is a national arts-in-education program, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation, that will award more than $50,000 in scholarship funds to participating high school students including $20,000 awarded to the national winner. Locally, Georgia Council for the Arts will award approximately $2500 to the state finalists and their schools. From an original pool of more than 12,000 students, twelve contestants representing high schools from around the state will compete in the state finals at 2:00 p.m. this Saturday, March 31, in the History Center's McElreath Hall.

"As the state arts agency, Georgia Council for the Arts partners with many organizations tPoetry Out Loudo enhance communities by providing access to cultural activities and educational initiatives," stated GCA Director Karen Paty. "We are particularly committed to supporting arts in education with Poetry Out Loud which capitalizes on the appeal of spoken word and the influence of poetry and music for this generation."

Poetry Out Loud is modeled after traditional, popular national competitions, such as the National Spelling Bee and Geography Bee. Last year, more than 365,000 students nationwide were narrowed down to a competitive field of fifty-three. The competition uses a pyramid structure that begins at the classroom level in all fifty states. Classroom winners advance to school-wide competitions, with a finalist from each school then advancing to the state finals. To date, more than 20,000 Georgia students from across the state have participated for an opportunity to win funds for college.

"Georgia has ranked in the top five in regards to individual student and school participation in Poetry Out Loud and we have laid the groundwork to ensure the participation levels continue to increase," added Program Manager Cary Ann Moody. "This partnership allows the Atlanta History Center to offer a program that underscores our belief in the inherent value of engaging students in the arts."

The winner at the state level will receive $500 and an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the national finals. However, not only do the students win, the school of the winning student receives a prize, too. The state winner's school library will receive a $500 prize. The runner-up is awarded $400, with $400 for that student's school, and a third-place winner will receive $300 plus $300 for the respective school.

Georgia Council for the Arts is a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development that provides support for nonprofit arts organizations throughout the state. Established in 1965 as the Georgia Commission on the Arts, its mission is to encourage excellence in the arts, support the arts many forms of expressions and make the arts available to all Georgians by providing funding, leadership, programming and other services. Funding for Georgia Council for the Arts is provided by appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly, the National Endowment for the Arts and other private and public sources.

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Contact Jhai James for more information at 404.962.4839 or jjames@gaarts.org.