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For Immediate Release

For Immediate Release                                                   
The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa
Contact: Sharron Rudowski
(205) 345-9801


(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) The regional finals for Poetry Out Loud, a national recitation competition, took place on Nov. 15, 2018 at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. Prior to this final round in Tuscaloosa, the West-Central Alabama students from District 3 participated in a primary competition at their respective high schools.

Poetry Out Loud is a competition that encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. After successful pilot programs in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, POL was launched in high schools nationwide in the spring of 2006 with tens of thousands of students participating. POL has grown every year with over 365,000 students competing.

Students competing in the District 3 POL program were eligible to compete in the national/anthology portion of the program, the original poetry portion or both. Traveling to Montgomery, Ala. in 2019, the winners in both the recitation and original poetry portions will compete in the state-wide competition. Only one student per school is allowed to advance to the state level in the national/anthology category. Winners in the national/anthology portion will then have the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. for a final round.

The Alabama State Council on the Arts sponsored the original poetry competition and administrates Poetry Out Loud on the state level. Sponsors include the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation and The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa. Sharron Rudowski, Arts Council Education Director, served as coordinator in District 3.

National/Anthology Winners:

1st Place: Heather Leigh Khamis – Indian Springs School
2nd Place: Kendall Victoria Owens – Indian Springs School
3rd Place: Marissa Grace Spencer – Tuscaloosa County High School

Advancing to state competition:

Heather Leigh Khamis – Indian Springs School
Marissa Grace Spencer – Tuscaloosa County High School
Jesalyn Jenae Dial – Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic School

Original-winners & advancing to state:

1st Place: Heather Leigh Khamis – Indian Springs School
2nd Place: Zachary Tyler Jones – Tuscaloosa County High School
3rd Place: Helena Grace Lewellyn – Tuscaloosa County High School
4th Place: Haley Clancy – Hale County High School
5th Place: J’Shell Leah Rice – Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic School

Judges for the day were Erma Hinton, Beth Feller and Tina Turley. Martie Sample served as Accuracy Judge, Kevin Ledgewood was Prompter and Sheriah Gibson was scorekeeper for the competition.

The Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center is located at 620 Greensboro Avenue in downtown Tuscaloosa. For more information about The Arts Council, Bama Theatre or CAC, patrons should LIKE the Facebook page “The Arts Council – Bama Theatre – Cultural Arts Center” and follow tuscarts on Twitter. Call 205-758-5195 or visit tuscarts.org for further information.



For press inquiries and other public relations matters please contact:

Kevin Ledgewood