Arizona Poetry Out Loud 2017

Arizona PBS to air 2017 Arizona Poetry Out Loud competition for high school students

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Arizona Poetry Out Loud 2017April 3, 2017

Arizona PBS will air highlights from the 2017 Arizona Poetry Out Loud competition, in which high school students from across the state compete in a national poetry recitation contest.

Poetry Out Loud is a national poetry recitation competition for high school students. The Arizona state finals of the Poetry Out Loud competition, which was hosted by Arizona PBS in March, combines slam poetry, spoken word and theater in the English class, encouraging young people to experience poetry by studying, memorizing and performing some of the most influential and timeless poems of the English language. Highlights from the competition will air in a half-hour special Friday, April 7, at 9:30 p.m.

“Each year, I’m amazed at the talent and poise these high school students bring to the competition. The type of poems they choose and recite is a testament to their personalities and how the language speaks to each of them differently,” Arizona PBS producer Suzanne Gerry said. “We are lucky to have such a robust poetry program in Arizona.”

The broadcast of Arizona Poetry Out Loud 2017 is an Arizona PBS original production made possible by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency by the state of Arizona.

“We are proud to partner with the National Endowment for the Arts to offer this program in high schools throughout Arizona, providing a rare opportunity for students to practice public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and connect with their literary heritage in a profound and meaningful way,” said Steve Wilcox, communications director of Arizona Commission on the Arts. “We congratulate all the students who participated.”

The winner of the competition will represent Arizona in the regional Poetry Out Loud semifinals for the upper northwest and western regions of the country. The winners of the semifinal will advance to the national finals competition in Washington, D.C., in May.

Central finalists:

  • Paul Cassidy, Brophy College Preparatory, Phoenix
  • Tillie Jones, Willow Canyon High School, Surprise
  • Cynthia Oldham, Combs High School, San Tan Valley
  • Amanda Rambert, American Leadership Academy Ironwood Campus, San Tan Valley
  • Kelly Vu, Arizona School for the Arts, Phoenix

Northern finalists:

  • Thea Cline, Tri-City College Prep High School, Prescott
  • Chaiah Durst, Sedona Red Rock High School, Sedona
  • Sophie Weinzinger, Coconino High School, Flagstaff

Southern finalists:

  • India Harris, Desert View High School, Tucson
  • Olivia Wrenn, Sonoran Science Academy, Tucson

Find out more about the finalists here.

Media Contact:  Joe Giordano
[email protected]
(602) 496-5118

About Arizona PBS

Arizona PBS is a trusted community resource.  For over 55 years, the PBS station has focused on educating children, reporting in-depth on public affairs, fostering lifelong learning and celebrating arts and culture. Arizona PBS achieves its mission through the power of non-commercial television, the Internet, educational outreach and community-based initiatives. Its signal reaches 80 percent of the homes in Arizona. With more than 1 million viewers weekly, Arizona PBS consistently ranks among the most-viewed public television stations per capita in the country. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest or Tumblr.

Arizona PBS is a member-supported community service of Arizona State University and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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