(Boston) — Springfield Central High School student Courtney Stewart was named Massachusetts’s 2013 Poetry Out Loud Champion Sunday at Boston’s Old South Meetinghouse. The freshman bested 22 other finalists including last year’s winner, Stephanie Igharosa from Randolph High School, who was named first runner-up. Second runner-up was Micayla Riven from Needham High School.
Stewart receives all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC where he will compete in Poetry Out Loud’s National Finals April 28-30. The Huntington has facilitated the competition locally with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for eight years, since the program began.
Nearly 21,000 students from 82 Huntington-supported schools across the Commonwealth recently participated in classroom and school-wide competitions of the national recitation competition that celebrates the power of the spoken word and a mastery of public speaking skills while cultivating self-confidence and an appreciation of students’ literary heritage as they take poetry from the page to the stage. Since its inception eight years ago, Poetry Out Loud has inspired hundreds of thousands of high school students to discover and appreciate both classic and contemporary poetry.
Seventy-one regional semi-finalists competed in Boston, Framingham, Springfield, and on Cape Cod March 2 and 3.
Huntington Theatre Company Director of Education and Community Programs Donna Glick reflects on Finals competition, “As I sat in Boston’s historical Old South Meeting House, knowing that so many revolutionaries used this site as their church, I was incredibly moved by the powerful poetic voices of twenty-three high school champions from across Massachusetts. They are the voices of America’s future.”
About Poetry Out Loud
Recitation and performance are major new trends in poetry. There has been a recent resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of hip-hop music. Poetry Out Loud builds on that momentum by inviting the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theatre into the English class. The NEA and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with state arts agencies to support the expansion of Poetry Out Loud, which encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. This exciting program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. The Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Huntington sponsor the Massachusetts contest; the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation sponsor the competition on the national level. Learn more about Poetry Out Loud at& huntingtontheatre.org/pol.
About the Huntington Theatre Company
Since its founding in 1982, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston’s leading theatre company. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current. Led by Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington creates award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Huntington is in residence at Boston University. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.
About the Massachusetts Cultural Council
The Massachusetts Cultural Council is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and interpretive sciences, in order to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the economic vitality of our communities. The MCC is committed to building a central place for arts and culture in the everyday lives of communities across the Commonwealth. The Council pursues this mission through a combination of grants, services, and advocacy for cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists.