Thank you, Virginia's 2011 Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest participating teachers and high school students! This year 227 teachers and 8,653 high school students participated in Poetry Out Loud holding recitation contests in their classrooms, schools and advancing their school champion to the regional contests throughout the commonwealth.
Of the 76 school champions competing in the regional contests, 16 regional finalists advanced to the State Finals in Richmond at Theatre IV's historic Empire Theatre on March 17, 2011. After three rounds of poetry recitation, Carol V. Decker of Tuscaroara High School in Leesburg, Loudoun County was declared the highest scoring student and Virginia's 2011 Poetry Out Loud State Champion. Colleen Murphy of William Monroe High School in Greene County was declared State Runner-Up.
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, partners with state arts agencies across the nation to support Poetry Out Loud. The contest serves 350,000 students throughout the nation. Poetry Out Loud encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation and helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. Here in Virginia, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, Peggy J. Baggett, Executive Director sponsors the contest. Theatre IV and Barksdale Theatre are proud to be the administrator of this program throughout Virginia.