Students from Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, Battle Ground advance to state Poetry Out Loud contest

VANCOUVER — Isabella Daltoso of Vancouver School of Arts and Academics (VSAA) and Laney Pham of Battle Ground High School were the top two finishers of the Southwest Washington Regional Poetry Out Loud contest, held at Educational Service District 112 on Feb. 6.

The two students will advance to the statewide competition, which will be held in Tacoma on Sat., March 4.

The Washington state champion winner will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national contest. The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The runner-up will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library.

Students from Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, Battle Ground advance to state Poetry Out Loud contest
Laney Pham (left) from Battle Ground High School and Isabella Daltoso (right) from Vancouver Schools of Arts and Academics were the top two finishers of the Southwest Washington Regional Poetry Out Loud contest. They will now advance to the statewide competition, which will be held in Tacoma on Sat., March 4. Photo courtesy of Educational Service District 112

The Poetry Out Loud National Finals are April 25-26 in Washington, D.C. Prizes include $20,000 for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion, and $10,000 and $5,000 for the second- and third-place finalists. The fourth- to ninth-place finalists each receive $1,000. The schools of the top nine finalists each receive $500 for the purchase of poetry books. There will be one honorable mention in each of the three semifinals competitions. Those students will not advance to the finals, but will receive a $1,000 cash award and $500 school stipend.

Fun facts about Poetry Out Loud

  • Since beginning in 2005, more than three million students and 45,000 teachers from 10,000 high schools across the country have participated.
  • In Washington, 70 schools, 21,357 students and 301 teachers participated in the 2015-2016 school year.
  • Washington was in the top five states for student participation the last two school years.
  • Washington has had one National Champion: Langston Ward of Spokane in 2013.

The Southwest Washington Regional Poetry Out Loud competition can be viewed on Comcast Cable channel 28/328 on Wed., Feb. 8, at 8 p.m. DVDs of this event can be purchased by contacting Karl Parker at karl.parker@esd112.org.

The regional competition, presented by ESD 112, in partnership with the Washington State Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.

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About The Author

Joanna Nicole Yorke is a 2010 graduate of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in political science. Yorke is a Clark County native, growing up on her family's 12-acre farm in La Center where her family still resides today. She was previously a reporter at The Reflector Newspaper, covering the city of Battle Ground, the Battle Ground School District and a variety of other areas and topics.

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