FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Arts Council has selected 18 high schools to participate in the state Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The program, now in its eighth year, encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation.

"Poetry Out Loud is an exciting competition and has many benefits for Kentucky students whose schools participate in the program," said Lori Meadows, arts council executive director. "Poetry recitation and performance can help students with concentration and critical thinking skills in many areas of study. It also gives kids a confidence boost and sense of accomplishment."

Participating schools are:

  • Allen County Scottsville High School
  • Boyd County High School
  • Franklin County High School
  • Western Hills High School, Franklin County
  • Grant County High School
  • Harlan County High School
  • Hart County High School
  • Leslie County High School
  • Heath High School, McCracken County
  • Lone Oak High School, McCracken County
  • Reidland High School, McCracken County
  • Belfry High School, Pike County
  • East Ridge High School, Pike County
  • Phelps Junior and Senior High School, Pike County
  • Pikeville High School, Pike County
  • Pike County Central High School
  • Shelby Valley High School, Pike County
  • Ohio County High School

Poetry Out Loud begins at the classroom level. Winners advance to schoolwide competition, then to the state competition and ultimately to the national finals. Since starting in 2006, Poetry Out Loud has grown every year with more than 365,000 students competing in 2011-12.

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. The program culminates with the national finals April 28-30, 2013, in Washington, D.C.

For more information about Poetry Out Loud in Kentucky, contact Suzanne Gray at suzanne.gray@ky.gov or 502-564-3757, ext. 489. 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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