AUGUSTA — The Maine Arts Commission has opened registration for the 2019-20 Poetry Out Loud program.

Poetry Out Loud is a student recitation contest that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life, according to a news release from the commission.

Joao Victor, Maine’s 2019 Poetry Out Loud state champion, left, Allan Monga the runner-up and previous year’s state champion. At the time, Victor was a senior at Lewiston High School. Monga was a senior at Deering High School. Photo courtesy Maine Arts Commission

The commission has partnered once again with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation to give Maine schools the opportunity to participate in Poetry Out Loud in 2019-20. Last year 32 Maine schools participated in the program.

Educational materials and resources for Poetry Out Loud are provided at no cost to teachers or students, and registration is available at MaineArts.com. The registration deadline is Dec. 1.

Student champions from each participating school will advance to either the Northern Regional Finals at Hampden Academy or Southern Regional Finals at the Westbrook Performing Arts Center. The State Finals will take place March 2 at the Waterville Opera House, 1 Common St. in Waterville.

Each winner at the state level will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with an adult chaperone to Washington, D.C., to compete for the national championship. The state champion’s school will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. The first runner-up in each state will receive $100, with $200 for their school. At the national finals, a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is awarded annually.

For more information about the event, contact Brita Wanger-Morier, director of Media and Performing Arts for the Maine Arts Commission, at 656-2750 or [email protected].

The Maine Arts Commission supports artists, arts organizations, educators, policy makers, and community developers in advancing the arts in Maine. For more than 50 years the Commission has encouraged and stimulated public interest and participation in the cultural heritage and programs of our state; has worked to expand the state’s cultural resources; and has encouraged and assisted freedom of artistic expression for the well-being of the arts, to meet the needs and aspirations of persons in all parts of the state.

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