Strom Thurmond HS Student is Finalist in Poetry Out Loud

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Arts Commission congratulates the finalists in the state’s 2012-2013 Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. All nine students advance to the March 16 state finals to compete for South Carolina’s spot in the POL national finals and a shot at a $20,000 scholarship.

Region 1: Upstate

  • Ashley Kiley, Crescent High School, Anderson County
  • Ashley Tisdale, Spartanburg Day School, Spartanburg County
  • Justin Fox, Spartanburg High School, Spartanburg County

Region 2: Midlands

  • Brandon Ellison, Ridge View High School, Richland County
  • Kynnedi McManus, Strom Thurmond High School, Edgefield County
  • Jada Daniels, Westwood High School, Richland County

Region 3: Lowcountry

  • Sarah Moody, Ashley Hall, Charleston County
  • Katherine Murchison, Charleston County School of the Arts, Charleston County
  • Whitaker Gannon, Hilton Head Preparatory, Beaufort County

Students advanced from school-wide competitions to one of three regional competitions held in Spartanburg, Sumter and Charleston. The state finals will be held March 16 at the Columbia Museum of Art, and the state champion will compete in the national finals April 29-30 in Washington, D.C.

The state champion receives $200, a $500 stipend to purchase poetry books for their school library, and an all-expense paid trip to the national finals. The runner-up receives $100 and a $200 poetry book stipend for their library.

Poetry Out Loud, a program created in 2005 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, builds on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement. Students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage while gaining an appreciation of poetry. Last year more than 365,000 students nationwide competed. The winner received a $20,000 scholarship.

The South Carolina Arts Commission works with several partners to produce Poetry Out Loud: the Columbia Museum of Art, the S.C. Department of Education, S.C. ETV Radio’s “Speaking of Schools” with Doug Keel, Hub City Writers Project (Region 1), the Sumter County Cultural Commission and the University of South Carolina Sumter Division of Arts and Letters (Region 2), and the College of Charleston School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts (Region 3).

For more information, visit or contact Frances Kablick Keel at