IACA announces 2019 Illinois POL Champion

The Illinois Arts Council Agency is pleased to announce that Illinois State Poetry Out Loud (POL) Champion, Scottlynn Ernestine Ballard, a junior at Edwardsville High School, Edwardsville, placed second at the 2019 Poetry Out Loud National Contest, held on May 1, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Ms. Ballard won a $10,000 prize and her school will receive a $500 prize to use for the purchase of poetry materials.

To achieve her prize, Ms. Ballard had to first win her school’s Poetry Out Loud competition, then compete in and win the regional POL competition, followed by the state POL competition held in Springfield, Illinois, on March 8, 2019. This year in Illinois, over 10,000 high school students from forty-five schools participated in Poetry Out Loud at the classroom level.

For both the Illinois State POL contest and the POL National contest Ms. Ballard recited the following three poems; Worth” by Marilyn Nelson, “Self-Help” by Michael Ryan, and “Ode” by Arthur O’Shaughnessy.

Poetry Out Loud is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation with the state arts agencies that encourages high school students to engage with great poetry through a dynamic recitation competition. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals included students from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Congratulations Scottlynn Ernestine Ballard. We are so proud of you.

For more information about how to register your school to participate in Poetry Out Loud for the 2019/2020 school year contact Susan Dickson, Program Director, Illinois Arts Council Agency, susan.dickson@illinois.gov or visit the Poetry Out Loud page on the IACA website for more extensive information about the program.


Photo credit: James Kegley

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