FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky's 17 Poetry Out Loud school champions will compete for the state championship March 12 in Frankfort, the next tier of competition in the national poetry recitation contest. The state winner will advance to the national Poetry Out Loud competition.

The state finals, which are open to the public, will be Tuesday, March 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern time at the Capital Plaza Hotel, 405 Wilkinson Blvd., Frankfort, Ky. The program is coordinated by the Kentucky Arts Council.

"Congratulations to each of the school champions who made it through the first two levels, and now will compete to represent the Commonwealth at the national level," said Lori Meadows, arts council executive director. "We look forward to a great competition with all of our talented school winners."

Poetry Out Loud begins at the classroom level. Winners advance to schoolwide competition, then to the state competition and ultimately to the national finals, April 28-30, in Washington, D.C. School winners who will compete to represent Kentucky in the national finals are:

  • Michaela McCane, Franklin County High School
  • Cheyenne Carter, Western Hills High School, Franklin County
  • Amy MacAdams, Grant County High School
  • Celeste Shearer, Hart County High School
  • Gabby Thompson, Boyd County High School
  • Katelyn Woodmansee, Allen County-Scottsville High School
  • Miranda Webb, Pikeville High School, Pike County
  • Kimberly Williamson, Pike County Central High School
  • Madison Steffi Tackett, Shelby Valley High School, Pike County
  • Eashwar Somasandaram, Belfry High School, Pike County
  • Haley Sullivan, East Ridge High School, Pike County
  • Haylee Stevens, Phelps Junior and Senior High School, Pike County
  • Sierra Hatfield, Harlan County High School
  • Jazmyne Lilly, Lone Oak High School, McCracken County
  • Katelin Burchett, Heath High School, McCracken County
  • Krista Roberts, Leslie County High School
  • Skylar Lindsey, Reidland High School, McCracken County

The winner of the state finals receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington, D.C., to compete for the national championship. The state winner's school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up receives $100, with $200 going to his or her school library.

Since starting in 2006, Poetry Out Loud has grown to more than 365,000 students competing in 2011-12. For a general overview of the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest visit www.poetryoutloud.org.

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, creates opportunities for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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