The art of performance and spoken word is alive and well in Maine high schools, as 39 individual students competed in two Poetry Out Loud Regional Finals last month. The Maine Arts Commission, which administers the poetry competition at the state level, recently announced the top 10 finalists who will compete in state finals at 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, at the Waterville Opera House, 1 Common St. in Waterville.

The Northern Maine Regional Champions: The northern regional poetry recitation contest final was hosted by Hampden Academy.

The finalists in this division are Lydia Caron, a senior at Bangor High School; Katherine Kemper, a senior at Camden Hills Regional High School; Lauren Dodge, a senior at Lee Academy; Hannah Lavenson, a senior at Messalonskee High School; and Lauren Farmer, a sophomore at Rangeley Lakes Regional Schools.

The Southern Maine Regional Champions: The southern regional final was hosted by Westbrook Middle School.

The finalists in this division are Allan Monga, a junior at Deering High School; Abbie vanLuling, a senior at Gorham High School; Richard Hilscher, a senior at North Yarmouth Academy; Emma Lombardo, a junior at Westbrook High School; and Wyatt Bates, a junior at Yarmouth High School.

After three rounds of competition, one state finalist will be named the overall winner and advance to the national competition, where she or he will compete for a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends, as well as a $20,000 scholarship.

The Maine Poetry Out Loud state finals are free and open to the public. It also will be broadcast and streamed live throughout Maine in collaboration with Boothbay Region Television on the BRTV station and through Facebook Live on the Maine Arts Commission’s Facebook page.

For more information, contact Argy Nestor, Maine Arts Commission director of arts education at [email protected] or 287-2713.

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