(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) The regional finals for Poetry Out Loud, a national recitation competition, took place on Feb. 2, 2023 at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. Prior to this final round in Tuscaloosa, the West-Central Alabama students 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. Since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than 4.1 million students and 68,000 teachers from 17,000 schools and organizations in every state, American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Students competing in the Regions 3 and 4 POL program were eligible to compete in the national anthology portion of the program, the original poetry portion, or social issue recitation. Traveling to Montgomery, Ala. this year, the winners will compete in the state-wide competition against winners in other Alabama regions.

The Alabama State Council on the Arts sponsored the competition and The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa administrates Poetry Out Loud on the local 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 Regions 3/4.

National Anthology Recitation:

1. Nalin Reed, Alabama School of Fine Arts

2. Rishab Samant, Vestavia Hills High School

3. Elizabeth McCure, Alabama School of Fine Arts

Original Poetry Recitation:

1. Abigail White, Indian Springs School

2. Elizabeth McClure, Alabama School of Fine Arts

3. Sarah Khamis, Indian Springs School

Social Issue Poetry Recitation:

1. Elizabeth McClure, Alabama School of Fine Arts

2. Aarvi Shah, Indian Springs School

3. William Bittner, Alabama School of Fine Arts

Judges for the day were Al Elliott, Salaam Green and Alina Stefanescu. Martie Sample was Accuracy Judge, Sandra Wolfe was Prompter and Reagan Fryer served as Scorekeeper.

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