California Arts Council

State of California

Press Release Detail

March 24, 2014Caitlin Fitzwater

Monterey County teacher Larry Haggquist receives California Poetry Out Loud "Hero" Award

The second annual award highlights the important work done by teachers, teaching artists, and others for the program

Sacramento -

 The California Arts Council has awarded Larry Haggquist, a teacher at Pacific Grove High School, the second annual "Hero" award for the Poetry Out Loud program. Haggquist received the award on the state Senate floor today, March 24, 2014, during the California Poetry Out Loud State Finals in the Senate Chamber at the State Capitol. Haggquist was also the coach of today's 2014 State Runner-up, Haley Walker, a senior at Pacific Grove High School.

Download a hi-res photo of Haggquist and Walker at this link:

The Hero Award was established by the California Arts Council to acknowledge the remarkable work done in the classroom by the thousands of teachers, coaches, teaching artists and others who bring the California Poetry Out Loud program to life.

"It's the teachers and others who make this program happen, and for that, they are my personal heroes," said Kristin Margolis, arts program specialist at the Arts Council, who manages the literary programs.

Haggquist was selected as the second recipient of this award based on his extraordinary coaching and cultivation of young poets as an English teacher and the Poetry Out Loud coach at Pacific Grove High School. Haggquist has shown exceptional leadership as the coach of three Poetry Out Loud state champions and one runner-up. Students coached by Haggquist include:

  • 2009 State Runner-up - Kylie Batlin
  • 2010 State Champion - Morgan Brown
  • 2011 State Champion - Robert Marchand
  • 2013 State Champion - Arwa Arwan
  • 2014 State Runner-up - Haley Walker

"Larry is masterful at inspiring students," said Matt Bell, Principal of Pacific Grove High School. "Whether in class, the Young Writer's Club, Poetry Out Loud, on sports teams or the Mock Trial team, every student that he encounters rises to levels higher than they thought possible. Larry draws his energy from the students and his passion for them and for his craft shows in everything he does."

This year marks the ninth time the California Arts Council has produced the annual competition - the largest of its kind in the nation, with over 40,000 students in 35 California counties participating. The program encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. Details on the program and the 2014 state championships are available at

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The Mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity.
Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Wylie Aitken, Vice Chair Susan Steinhauser, Michael Alexander, Christopher Coppola, Donn K. Harris, Charmaine Jefferson, William Turner, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at


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