Vermillion students recognized at State Poetry Out Loud competition

Vermillion students recognized at State Poetry Out Loud competition
April Sun and Jacob Plette, juniors at Vermillion High School, took top honors at the South Dakota Poetry Out Loud competition, March 17, at Edison Middle School in Sioux Falls.

As runner up in the no original poetry recitation category, April's award included $100 and a gift of $200 for the purchase of poetry books for Vermillion High School.

Jacob was one of three high school poets from across the state whose original poem was selected for the state contest. He received $100 and the VHS library was given poetry books.

"This competition is a wonderful way to introduce the arts to high school students across the state," said Richard Benda, secretary, Department of Tourism and State Development. "One of the goals of the state's 2010 Initiative is to enhance arts and history as essential to lifelong learning and I think this competition does just that."

In order to qualify for the state contest, students competed at a local contest coordinated and coached by Mary Begley, drama and speech teacher at Vermillion High School. The winning original poem and a video of the first place poetry presentation were submitted to the State judges. Ten students at the next level of competition qualified for the no original poetry event and three original poems were chosen to showcase at the state contest.

A distinguished panel of South Dakota poets and a theater professional were judges for the event: David Allan Evans, South Dakota Poet Laureate; Ray Peterson, SDSU Theatre Department; and Allison Hedge Coke, award-winning poet and University of Nebraska faculty member.

Poetry Out Loud is a nationwide poetry competition for high school students initiated and supported by the National Endowment for

the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. South Dakota Arts Council, South Dakotans for the Arts and South Dakota Public Broadcasting are statewide sponsors of the event.

During 2008, more than $100,000 will be awarded in scholarships to students and grants to schools at state and national levels. These awards include a $20,000 scholarship to the national champion as well as other substantial prizes to finalists in the national competition.

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