Three Finalists Named at Poetry Out Loud Recitation Competition
Poetry Out Loud Upstate SC Regional Finals
Seven high school students competed in Saturday's Upstate SC Regional Finals for Poetry Out Loud, a national recitation contest that encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.
The competitors included Colendra Dodd of Eastside High School, Emily Gerdes of Indian Land High School, Jamie Montagne of Spartanburg Day School, Joshua Mugabe of York Prepatory Academy, Juliana Quay of Andrew Jackson High School, Nora Grace Smith of Spartanburg High School, and Nina Young of Boiling Springs High School.
After two rounds of recitation, the judges tabulated the scores and announced three finalists: Joshua Mugabe, Jamie Montagne, and Nora Grace Smith. These three will advance to the statewide Poetry Out Loud Finals in Columbia on March 14. The National Finals will take place in Washington, D.C., where $50,000 in prizes will be awarded.
"It was a very close call," said Anne Waters, who served as Prompter and Tabulator. "The scores were very tight."
Executive Director of the Hub City Writers Project Betsy Teter said, "We'd love to see someone from the upstate region win big this year."
Judges for this year were Claire Bateman of Greenville and Matthew Foley of Charleston. Claire Bateman has published five collections of poetry and taught at Clemson University and the Greenville Fine Arts Center. Matthew Foley is a spoken work poet and public school teacher in Charleston, where he founded Holy City Youth Slam and was named "Charleston's Favorite Literary Artist" in 2014.