The Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture announced the winners of the regional Poetry Out Loud Competition. Josie Allen was crowned champion with Isabella Melsheimer named runner-up. Both girls are students at Orcutt Academy High School. Allen and Melsheimer competed against 15 students representing five high schools.
Each participating school held individual competitions before sending their top three placeholders to compete at the county level. Allen received an all-expense paid trip to compete at the state finals held on March 18 in Sacramento. State finalists will receive funding to participate at the national competition in Washington D.C. on April 25.
The Poetry Out Loud competition, presented in partnership with the California Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn poetry through memorization, performance and competition. Judges evaluated student performances on criteria including voice and articulation, evidence of understanding, and accuracy. Teachers introduced poetry recitation in the classroom using free, standards-based curriculum materials. Over the past 11 years, Poetry Out Loud has reached more than three million students and 45,000 teachers from 10,000 schools nationwide.
Competitors from the countywide Poetry Out Loud program will join Santa Barbara Poet Laureate Enid Osborn for “Poetry in the Parks” from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, April 14 at the El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park Alhecama Theater, 123 E. Canon Perdido St. The Santa Barbara Folk Orchestra will perform at the event, followed by the student recitations, and then Osborn will lead readings from renowned local poets. The free event is a program of California State Parks produced in partnership with the City of Santa Barbara, Office of Arts and Culture and El Presidio State Park.