Two students representing schools in Clark and Thurston counties have advanced from the SW Washington Regional Final to the State Final for the Poetry Out Loud (POL) competition. The top two scorers were announced during a virtual Regional Final ceremony hosted by ESD 112 and shared on Facebook and YouTube on Monday evening.

Presented in partnership with ArtsWA, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation, POL is a national program that encourages high school students to learn about poetry – both classic and contemporary – through memorization, performance, and competition.

In total, 10 students were named School Champions and competed in the Regional Final.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Regional Final was conducted virtually. Each student recorded and submitted two poetry recitations. A team of POL judges reviewed and scored each recitation, evaluating criteria including physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, accuracy, and overall performance.

“The student participants are impressive and gain so much from this experience,” said ESD 112 Superintendent Tim Merlino. “Public speaking skills, self-confidence, literature appreciation, and a new outlet for creative expression are just a few of the many take-aways. Plus, attendees are wowed by the performances.”

The top two scoring students advancing to the 2022 State Final are:

  • Sinai Flores – North Thurston High School (Lacey)
  • Josie Rinta – Ridgefield High School (Ridgefield)

The Washington State champion will receive $200 and will advance to the virtual 2022 national finals at a date that is still to be determined. At the national finals, $50,000 in awards and school/organizational stipends will be distributed. The representing school or organization of the state champion will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. The first runner-up in each state will receive $100, with $200 for their school or organization. The Poetry Foundation provides and administers all aspects of the monetary prizes awarded.

You can watch Monday’s Regional Final, which includes performances by the two top scoring students as well as appearances by all of the student finalists:

2022 Poetry Out Loud SW Washington Regional Finals Presentation