Seventeen Delaware students are set to participate in the Poetry Out Loud state competition, a free recitation contest set for 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at Smyrna Opera House, 7 W. South St.
Finalists will compete for the opportunity to represent Delaware and advance to the National Finals from April 27-29 in Washington, D.C., where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed.
The 2020 Delaware state semifinalists are Josh-Samuel Ikechi-Konkwo, Cape Henlopen High School; Sam McGarvey, Delaware Valley Classical School; Ian Hayes, Dover High School; Natalia Castillo Vazquez, Hodgson Vo-Tech High School; Willy Vasquez, Indian River High School; Rebecca Wisniewski, Milford Senior High School; Shalom Ighodaro, MOT High School; Daniel Patrick Johnson, Mount Sophia Academy; Reuben Everhart, Newark Charter High School; Mia daPonte, Red Lion Christian Academy; Charmaine Pasicolan, Saint Mark's High School; Camille Decker, Sanford School; Alex Free, Seaford Senior High School; Penn Smith, Sussex Central High School; Julie Griswold, Tatnall School; Sarah Zhu, Wilmington Christian School; and Estelle Hegenbarth, Wilmington Friends School.
This year’s finals judges are Traci Currie, spoken word artist and program director, ARts Works Summer Youth Apprenticeship, Wilmington; the Rev. John G. Moore, director, Philanthropy and Engagement, United Way of Delaware; Heather Morrissey, director of operations, Delaware Art Museum; Janet Owens, dean of instruction, humanities, Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences; James Weiler, chair, English department, Woodbridge High School; and Jesse Zuba, assistant professor of English, Delaware State University
Other participants will include Mistress of Ceremonies Tina Betz, director, Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, Wilmington; prompter Donna Blakey, Delaware State Arts Council; and accuracy judge Christian Wills, a former Poetry Out Loud contestant, artist, poet and lyricist.
The competition encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance and competition.
For more, visit arts.delaware.gov/poetry-out-loud.