Ten students from around the state competed in the 2018 Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Finals on March 3, 2018 at the Arizona PBS Studios. They recited poems by a diverse group of poets including Tato Laviera, Suji Kwock Kim and T. Lux. After three rounds of recitations, Sophie Weinzinger, a senior at Coconino High School in Flagstaff was named State Champion. Antonio Juarez, a senior at Willow Canyon High School in Surprise was the first runner-up. Weinzinger will represent Arizona at the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest National Finals in Washington, D.C. April 23-25.
Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation contest for high school students that begins is the classroom, includes statewide competitions and culminates in the finals in Washington D.C. Poetry Out Loud encourages the nation’s youth to learn about poetry by studying, memorizing and performing influential and timeless poems. Through Poetry Out Loud, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.
Poetry Out Loud is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation. It is administered in all 50 states and three territories through partnerships and state agencies.
Poetry Out Loud in Arizona
Participation in Arizona Poetry Out Loud continues to grow with more than 13,000 students and 160 teachers from across the state participating in the program. The Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Champion will receive an all-expenses-paid trip (with a chaperone) to compete at the National Finals in Washington D.C. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals will award a total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends, with a $20,000 college scholarship for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion.
The Arizona Poetry Out Loud program is managed and supported by the Arizona Commission on the Arts.
Arizona PBS is broadcasting highlights of the Arizona state finals of the Poetry Out Loud competition, airing Friday, April 7 at 9:30 p.m. This is an Arizona PBS original production made possible by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona.
Meet the finalists from the 2018 competition.
Lily Sklar, The Gregory School, Tucson
Lily Sklar, a senior at The Gregory School, is thrilled to compete for the second year. A self-proclaimed connoisseur of dinosaur chicken nuggets and jazz hands, she believes all the world is her stage. She enjoys pennywhistles, long walks on the beach, pina coladas and getting caught in the rain.
“Ode to the Electric Fish that Eat Only the Tails of Other Electric Fish” by T. Lux; “Backdrop addresses cowboy” by Margaret Atwood; “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by W.B. Yeats
Carly Cairns, Herberger Young Scholars Academy, Phoenix
Carly Cairns is an IGCSE level scholar at Herberger Young Scholars Academy. She is thrilled to advance to the State Finals. Her interests are the arts and sciences, and medicine, specifically world health. She wishes warm regards to her fellow finalists, and thanks her mother for inspiration and encouragement and Ms. Waring for providing the opportunity to compete.
“Mrs. Caldera’s House of Things” by Gregory Djanikian; “The Children of the Poor” by Gwendolyn Brooks; “Ode” by Arthur O’Shaughnessy
Sophie Weinzinger, Coconino High School, Flagstaff
Sophie Weinzinger is a senior at Coconino High School, competing in her third year of Poetry Out Loud. When not participating in Flagstaff’s arts, she can be found at Coconino Community College working on her accounting certificate or downtown with a chai and a good book.
“Hysteria” by Dioniso D. Martinez; “Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy” by Thomas Lux; “Dirge in the Woods” by George Meredith
Sylvia Dale, Ganado High School, Ganado
Sylvia Dale is from Mexican Water, but lives in Kinlichee. She is a sophomore at Ganado High School. She loves reading, writing and reciting poetry. She enjoys being able to put her feelings and emotions into the poetry for her audience.
“When You Are Old” by William Butler Yeats; “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou; “I Find No Peace” by Sir Thomas Wyatt
Braden Steiner, Sonoran Science Academy, Tucson
Braden Steiner has been interested in literature ever since he could read. This is his second year with Poetry Out Loud, and his first time as a finalist. Poetry Out Loud represents a new form of performance for him: He is inspired to write his own poetry and has discovered a love of performing, including poetry and other forms of acting.
Victoria Aiken, North High School, Phoenix
Victoria Aiken is a senior at North High School. She loves cats and doing her natural hair. She intends on majoring in American Literature and Black Studies at Widener University.
“to the notebook kid” by Eve L. Ewing; “Friendship After Love” by Ella Wheeler Cox; “The Healing Improvisation of Hair” by Jay Wright
Emma Collier, Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy, Flagstaff
Emma Collier is a senior at Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy (FALA). This is her second year competing in Poetry Out Loud. She has been a community theater actor for six years and is currently working on an original piece, “On Thinking.” She thanks FALA and Allison Gruber for the opportunities and their unrelenting support of the arts.
“One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop; “Early Elegy: Headmistress” by Claudia Emerson; “Love Armed” by Aphra Behn
Antonio Juarez, Willow Canyon High School, Surprise
Antonio Juarez has been involved in the performing arts throughout his high school career. He was vice president of the Willow Canyon Show Choir and has had lead roles in both musical and non-musical plays. His favorite performances include “All Shook Up” and “Game of Tiaras.” He loves poetry, music, dance and getting caught in the rain.
“Spanglish” by Tato Laviera; “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold; “That Everything’s Inevitable” by Katy Lederer
Paul Cassidy, Brophy College Preparatory, Phoenix
Paul Cassidy is a junior at Brophy College Preparatory. He is very excited to represent his school among the other talented poets in the state. He is a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and enjoys drawing, filming and editing videos, and acting. He is very grateful to his parents and Austin Pidgeon for their support.
“Slant” by Suji Kwock Kim; “Propositions” by Stephen Dunn; “Sonnet 55: Not marble nor the gilded monuments” by William Shakespeare
John Oboyski, St. Augustine Catholic High School, Tucson
John Oboyski is a sophomore at St. Augustine Catholic High School. One of his favorite activities is acting; his favorite subjects are Theater and English. He always tries to keep a positive attitude, make others smile and is as courteous as possible.
“Nocturne” by Louise Glück; “Ode” by Arthur O’Shaughnessy; “Domestic Situation” by Ernest Hilbert