Portsmouth Abbey School Student Wins Rhode Island Poetry Out Loud State Finals

Jennifer Shon, a junior at the Portsmouth Abbey School, clinched victory in the 19th R.I. Poetry Out Loud State Finals, announced by the Rhode State Council on the Arts.

In a display of literary prowess, Jennifer Shon, a junior hailing from Seoul, Korea, captured the top honors at the 19th R.I. Poetry Out Loud State Finals, as declared by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. Shon’s captivating recitation of “Say Grace” by Emily Jungmin Yoon resonated profoundly, securing her a coveted spot to represent Rhode Island in the national competition set to take place in Washington, D.C. from April 30 to May 2.

The competition, held at the Greenwich Odeum in East Greenwich on March 10, witnessed a fierce battle of poetic expression among more than 1,400 students representing 32 schools from across the state. Participants dedicated countless hours to the meticulous study, memorization, and performance of poetry throughout the school year, culminating in an unforgettable showcase of talent and dedication.

Kylie Tiemeyer from Classical High School in Providence claimed the second position, while Regan Clark from Chariho Regional High School in Charlestown secured third place. Additionally, honorable mentions were awarded to Zoey Evora from East Providence High School and Jayden Wirawan from Central High School in Providence.

Expressing congratulations to Jennifer Shon, Lynne McCormack, Executive Director of RISCA, conveyed heartfelt wishes for success in the upcoming national competition. McCormack also extended gratitude to all participants for their unwavering commitment and passion for poetry.

The event was graced by distinguished guests, including Lauren Miller, NEA Program Manager, Literary Arts and Arts Education Division, and Former State Poet Laureate Tina Cane, who lent their expertise and support to the aspiring poets. Judges Jennifer Davis Allison, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley, and Cathren Housley meticulously evaluated each performance, ensuring a fair and competitive atmosphere.

The Poetry Out Loud program, a collaborative effort between the NEA and the Poetry Foundation, aims to foster an enduring appreciation for classic and contemporary poetry among students. Since its inception, the initiative has engaged over 3.6 million students from 14,000 high schools nationwide, providing a platform for artistic expression and cultural enrichment.

As part of the recognition, the winner of the Rhode Island finals receives a cash prize of $200, with an additional $500 stipend allocated to their school for the purchase of poetry materials. The first runner-up receives $100, accompanied by a $200 grant for their school library. The national finals will award a total of $50,000 in prizes and school stipends, including a grand prize of $20,000 for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

The success of Jennifer Shon and her fellow competitors underscores the profound impact of poetry as a medium for self-expression and creativity, inspiring generations of young poets to explore the beauty of language and imagination.




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