Amber Sheth and Elise Ditzler, both seniors at Rhinelander High School, competed in the state Poetry Out Loud (POL) competition March 8 in Madison. The girls had finished in the top two in the regional competition against six other students in Wrightstown to get to this point. Students needed to memorize and recite three poems, demonstrating accuracy, dramatic appropriateness and understanding. In Madison, Sheth placed 2nd among strong competition from the eight other students from across the state.
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with U.S. state arts agencies to support Poetry Out Loud (POL), a contest that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about poetry through memorization and recitation. The program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. POL has grown every year with more than 365,000 students competing in 2011-2012.
Each winner at the state level receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington to compete for the national championship. The state winner’s school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up in each state receives $100, with $200 for his or her school library. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded annually at the National Finals.