Carbondale Community Arts held the annual Poetry Out Loud Southern Illinois Regional Recitation Competition Feb. 20 at CCA's Artspace 304.
Four schools were represented at the competition: Agape Christian School in Marion, Clay City High School, Carbondale Community High School and Cobden High School. Winners of each school's competition represented their respective school at the regional competition.
Competing were Erin Englebright, Brandon Fienhold and Aliegha Ramos of Agape Christian School; Shelby Cailteux and Kylie Rauch of Clay City High School; Kenzie Clerk and Sadie Torre of Carbondale Community High School; and Alejandra Lopez of Cobden High School.
Students each prepared two poems for recitation. Judges Allison Joseph, Kevin Purcell and Elaine Ramseyer judged the recitations.
Kenzie Clerk, a sophomore at CCHS, was the winner of the competition. Rauch, a freshman at Clay City, was runner-up. Fienhold of Agape Christian came in third.
To win the regional contest, Clerk performed recitations of "Bleeding Heart" by Carmen Giménez Smith and "Flowers" by Cynthia Zarin.
Clerk and Rauch are representing southern Illinois in the state competition today, March 8 at the Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield.
Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about poetry through memorization and recitation. The program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life.
Since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than 3.6 million students and 55,000 teachers from 14,000 schools.
Coordinated in southern Illinois by Carbondale Community Arts, the program has served high school students across the region since 2006 and provides free curriculum materials for schools, as well as the opportunity to compete for scholarship dollars. The program is made possible at the national level by the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and at the state level by the Illinois Arts Council Agency.