For Immediate Release                                           
The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa
Contact: Shannon McCue


(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) The regional finals for Poetry Out Loud, a national recitation competition, took place on Nov. 19, 2019 at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. Prior to this final round in Tuscaloosa, the West-Central Alabama students from Districts 3/4 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 3/4 POL program were eligible to compete in the national/anthology portion of the program, the original poetry portion, a new original category focusing on the social challenges of 2020, or all three. The competition was held virtually this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with students submitting videos of their recitations. The winners listed below in all three categories will compete in the state-wide competition, which will also be held virtually. Winners in the state level national/anthology portion will then have the opportunity to compete at the national level for a final round.

The Alabama State Council on the Arts sponsored the original poetry and social challenge competitions, and administrates Poetry Out Loud at the state level. Sponsors include the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation and The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa. Shannon McCue, Arts Council Education Director, served as Facilitator in Districts 3/4.

National/Anthology Winners:
1st Place: Myra Grizzard, Alabama School of Fine Arts
2nd Place: Catherine Edwards, Indian Springs School
3rd Place: Taylor Jackson, Alabama School of Fine Arts

Original Winners:

1st Place: Madison Forman, Indian Springs School
2nd Place:Isabelle Terrell, Red Mountain Theatre Company/Pinson Valley High School
3rd Place: Victoria Kindall, Indian Springs School
4th Place: Ka’Lise Benson, Alabama School of Fine Arts
5th Place: Melany Morgan, Alabama School of Fine Arts

2020 Social Challenge Winners:

1st Place: Lily Geisen, Indian Springs School  
2nd Place: Julius Shanks, Alabama School of Fine Arts
3rd Place: Victoria Kindall, Indian Springs School
4th Place: Ka’Lise Benson, Alabama School of Fine Arts 

Judges for the day were Jada Dumas – Social Media Coordinator, The Flourish Alabama; Dr. Richard J. Wallace – New College Instructor and Athletic Tutor, University of Alabama; and Janavian Young – Documentarian, The Flourish Alabama. Shannon McCue served as Accuracy Judge.

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” on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram @tuscaloosaartscouncil. Call 205-758-5195 or visit tuscarts.org for further information.