Isabella Daltoso of Vancouver School of Arts and Academics (VSAA) and Laney Pham of Battle Ground High School were the top two finishers of the Southwest Washington Regional Poetry Out Loud contest held at Educational Service District 112 on February 6. They will advance to the state-wide competition which will be held in Tacoma on Saturday, March 4, 2017.

The Washington State champion winner will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington D.C. to compete in the national contest. The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The runner-up will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library.

The Poetry Out Loud National Finals are April 25-26, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Prizes include $20,000 for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion, and $10,000 and $5,000 for the second- and third-place finalists. The fourth- to ninth-place finalists each receive $1,000. The schools of the top nine finalists each receive $500 for the purchase of poetry books. There will be one honorable mention in each of the three semifinals competitions. Those students will not advance to the finals, but will receive a $1,000 cash award and $500 school stipend.

The Southwest Washington Regional Poetry Out Loud competition can be viewed on Comcast Cable channel 28/328 on Wednesday, February 8 at 8:00 pm. DVDs of this event can be purchased by contacting Karl Parker at

The regional competition, presented by ESD 112 in partnership with the Washington State Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

Fun Facts about Poetry Out Loud:

Since beginning in 2005, more than 3 million students and 45,000 teachers from 10,000 high schools across the country have participated.

In Washington, 70 schools, 21,357 students, and 301 teachers participated in the 2015-2016 school year.

Washington was in the top five states for student participation the last two school years.

Washington has had one National Champion: Langston Ward of Spokane in 2013.