California Arts Council

State of California

Poetry Out Loud County Winners Competing on March 23 in State Finals
Twenty-four high school students from throughout California to compete in state finals on Senate Floor on Monday


Published: 03-18-2009

They've already had the experience of taking the stage, reciting the words, and taking home a prize. Now these county winners are ready to recite on the state Senate floor and go for the California title in the Poetry Out Loud state finals on Monday, March 23.

This year marks the fourth time the California Arts Council has produced the Poetry Out Loud competition, a contest that encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition -- and the first time the state finals will take place at the state Capitol on the Senate floor. The list of competitors includes:

  • Kathy Tran, Oakland Military Institute (Alameda County)
  • Diane Rodriguez, Monte Vista High School (Contra Costa County)
  • Bounrod Xiong, Roosevelt High School (Fresno County)
  • Sylvan Arevalo, Northcoast Preparatory and Performing Arts Academy (Humboldt County)
  • Rachaelanne Weiss, Middle High School (Lake County)
  • Ani Bezirdzhyan, Clark Magnet High School (Los Angeles County)
  • Kara Grimes, Madera North High School (Madera County)
  • Lily Goldman, Tamalpas High School (Marin County)
  • Allegra Fisher, Mendocino Community high school (Mendocino County)
  • Kylie Tressa Gael Batlin, Pacific Grove High School (Monterey County)
  • Kathryn Fuller, Bear River High School (Nevada County)
  • Shannon Wagner, Granite Bay High School (Placer County)
  • Jacqueline Vietor, MaryWood-Palm Valley High School (Riverside County)
  • Dwight Sanders, Inderkum High School (Sacramento County)
  • Samantha Caratti, Valley Center High School (San Diego County)
  • May Hao, Lowell High School (San Francisco County)
  • Sean Peters, San Luis Obispo High School (San Luis Obispo County)
  • Spencer Klavan, Laguna Blanca High School (Santa Barbara County)
  • Jessica Ronquillo, Pacific Coast Charter School (Santa Cruz County)
  • Rachel Palmer, Mount Shasta High School (Siskiyou County)
  • Amber Seira, Montgomery High School (Sonoma County)
  • Mikayla Murry, Basic and Beyond School (Tuolumne County)
  • Ariana Sanchez, Moorpark High School (Ventura County)
  • Mary Anderson, Marysville Charter Academy (Yuba/Sutter County)

These students have shown their merit in the classroom, school, district, and county -- a pyramid competition structure similar to the spelling bee. County winners compete for the state championship. The California Poetry Out Loud first-place winner will receive $200 and be sent to compete in Washington, DC in April, and his or her school will receive $500 for poetry books. The runner-up receives $100, with his or her school receiving $200 for books. Thousands of dollars in scholarship funds are on the line at the national competition, where California's representative will face champions from the other 50 states and competing territories. 

The California Arts Council directs the state's Poetry Out Loud program, which has the largest number of students and high schools participating in Poetry Out Loud in the nation. The competition will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Senate Chamber of the State Capitol in downtown Sacramento. Viewing space will be limited, but the California Arts Council expects the competition to be telecast live via the California Channel, which filmed the state event over the past three years and won a Telly Award for its Poetry Out Loud coverage last year.

The California Arts Council thanks the state Senate for hosting California Arts Council and Poetry Out Loud in the Chamber for this competition.




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