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Poetry Out Loud 2015 District Winners Announced

Thursday, March 19, 2015
National poetry recitation competition hosted by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities

(Washington, DC) - The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Poetry Out Loud District finals. Daiana James, a junior at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, placed first with her recitations of "For My Contemporaries" by J. V. Cunningham, "Ars Poetica" by Archibald MacLeish and "A Fit of Rhyme Against Rhyme" by Ben Jonson. Ms. James will go on to compete at the Poetry Out Loud National Championship at the George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium on April 28, 2015.

Ryan Montesi, a junior at St. Anselm's Abbey School, placed second. Zahra Wardrick, a junior at Woodrow Wilson High School, placed third.

The District finals were hosted by DCCAH on March 11 at the University of the District of Columbia. Eleven high school students from DC public, charter and private schools competed. They represented Archbishop Carroll High School, Ballou Senior High School, Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, Capital City Public Charter School, Eastern High School, EL Haynes High School, McKinley Technology High School, St. Anselm's Abbey School, The SEED School of Washington, Washington Latin Public Charter School and Woodrow Wilson High School. The evening was hosted by performing artist Paige Hernandez and featured performances by teaching artist Regie Cabico and the youth of the Split This Rock DC Slam Poetry Team.

"Poetry is an amazing form of expression," said Edmund C. Fleet, Chair of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. "Students gaining a greater understanding of poetry and literature and learn valuable life and career skills such as public speaking and increased self-confidence at the Poetry Out Loud competition."

"Poetry Out Loud promotes the humanities and the development of our young artists," said Lionell Thomas, Executive Director of DCCAH. "It is a wonderful opportunity to see our local talent showcased, and we are so proud of all the students participating. We are pleased to work with our national partners, the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works and The Poetry Foundation on this exciting program. We congratulate all the students who participated."

About Poetry Out Loud - Poetry Out Loud, a joint program of the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation, is a national competition that seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry - recitation and performance. The program builds on the resurgence of the oral art form of poetry, as seen in the slam poetry and spoken word movements. The program invites these dynamic aspects into the classroom, where teachers engage students through classroom memorization, performances and competition. Through Poetry Out Loud, students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.

About the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities provides grants, professional opportunities, education enrichment and other programs and services to individuals and nonprofit organizations in all communities within the District of Columbia. The Arts Commission is supported primarily by District government funds and in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

High-resolution photos of the event are available.