This week, nine students representing schools from across Southwest Washington and the state’s capital region are participating in a Regional Final for Poetry Out Loud (POL).

Presented in partnership with ESD 112, 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 – classic and contemporary – through memorization, performance and competition.

Much like a spelling bee, participating students had to earn top scores during their school’s Poetry Out Loud Competition in order to advance to the Regional Final.

The nine students representing their school in the Southwest Washington Regional Final are:

  • Joey Fausto – River Ridge High School (North Thurston Public Schools)
  • Fay Greenwald – Olympia High School (Olympia School District)
  • Austin Kunkel – North Thurston High School (North Thurston Public Schools)
  • Nicholas Leetham – Camas High School (Camas School District)
  • Betty Nelson – Trout Lake School (Trout Lake School District)
  • Cooper Siems – Concordia Christian Academy
  • Anastacia Snelgro – Stadium High School (Tacoma Public Schools)
  • Micah Stewart – Cedar Tree Classical Christian School
  • Bethany Tuchardt – Battle Ground High School (Battle Ground Public Schools)

As a result of COVID-19, this year’s Regional Final is being conducted remotely. Each student is recording and uploading two poem recitations to a secure online video platform. From there, a team of POL judges will score the recitations, and the top three scoring students will advance to the State Final.

The top three scorers will be announced during a live, virtual ceremony on Wednesday, February 10, 2021. The ceremony will be held on Zoom from 5 to 6 p.m. and is hosted by Educational Service District 112. The results of the Regional Final will also be available at

To learn more about Poetry Out Loud, visit