Illinois Arts Council Announces Poetry Out Loud State Final

Illinois Arts Council Announces Poetry Out Loud State Final

16 Regional Winners Advance from 6,000 Participants in 57 Illinois High Schools Statewide

ILLINOIS -- The Illinois Arts Council is pleased to announce Illinois’ 2011-2012 Poetry Out Loud State Final, featuring recitations by sixteen regional contest winners. The event will take place on Thursday, March 29, 2012, at 1:00 p.m. in Springfield’s Hoogland Center for the Arts. Attendance is free, open to the public, and accessible.

Five thousand nine hundred forty-three students from 57 Illinois high schools participated in this year’s Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, a free program created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to encourage youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. The Illinois Arts Council implements Poetry Out Loud statewide as a collaborative project with seven regional partners.   

Poetry Out Loud State Champions receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in April to compete for the national championship. The state champion's school will also receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books, and a runner-up will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. Additionally, a total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends will be awarded to the winners at the National Finals.

The sixteen students who will compete at the statewide Poetry Out Loud contest are:





Central Illinois

Charday Crawford

Southeast High School

Central Illinois

Carly Piland

Springfield High School

Chicagoland - City

Kenneth Dumez

Northside College Preparatory High School

Chicagoland - City

Kaniah Jackson

Mather High School

Chicagoland - Suburbs

Sam Chao

Niles West High School

Chicagoland - Suburbs

Michelle Gonzalez

Maine East High School

Eastern Illinois

David Kessler

Champaign Centennial High School

Eastern Illinois

Carolyn Muller

Champaign Central High School

Northern Illinois

Amanda Clark

Auburn High School

Northern Illinois

Xavier Kimbrough

Auburn High School

South Central Illinois

Zachary Rimkus

Edwardsville High School

South Central Illinois

Ryan Serfus

Edwardsville High School

Southern Illinois

Megan Kessler

Clay City High School

Southern Illinois

Maggie Scudder

Carbondale Community High School

Western Illinois

Brianna Gray

United Township High School

Western Illinois

Anni Keleher

Orion High School


For more information regarding Illinois’ regional and school Poetry Out Loud competitions, please contact the Illinois Arts Council’s partnering organization directly:







Central Illinois

Springfield Area Arts Council

Sheila Walk



Literature for All of Us

Liz McCabe


Eastern Illinois

40 North/88 West (Champaign)

Kelly White


Northern Illinois

Rockford Area Arts Council

Sharon Nesbit-Davis


South Central Illinois

Jacoby Arts Center (Alton)

Melissa Mustain


Southern Illinois

Carbondale Community Arts

Nancy Stemper


Western Illinois

Quad City Arts (Rock Island)

Tracy Alan White



For more information regarding Illinois Poetry Out Loud State Final, please contact Susan Dickson, Illinois Arts Council Director, Ethnic & Folk Arts, Literature, Presenters, by email at, or by phone: (312) 814-6740.


For more information about the Poetry Out Loud program, visit



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