Weidner Regional Runner-Up in Poetry Contest


Published on February 14 2020 5:05 pm
Last Updated on February 14 2020 5:05 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

40 North has announced the winners of the 2020 Eastern Illinois regional contest for Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest.


The regional runner-up is Elizabeth Weidner from Teutopolis High School who recited "Siblings" by Patricia Smith and "How to Triumph Like a Girl" by Ada Limon, and the regional champion is Ariana Mizan from University Laboratory High School who recited "Sanctuary" by Jean Valentine and "It was not Death, for I stood up" by Emily Dickinson. The competition, presented in partnership with the Illinois Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

On Wednesday, students from area high schools participated in the Poetry Out Loud Eastern Illinois regional contest at Parkland College. Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure. Beginning at the classroom level, winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a regional and state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals in Washington, DC.

The students recited works they selected from an anthology of more than 650 classic and contemporary poems. Judges evaluated student performances on criteria including voice and articulation, evidence of understanding, level of difficulty, and accuracy. Teachers introduced poetry recitation in the classroom using materials created by the NEA and the Poetry Foundation, including a standards-based Teacher’s Guide, a website, a Learning Recitation DVD, and a CD featuring poetry recitations by well-known actors and writers such as Anthony Hopkins and Rita Dove.

The two regional winners will advance to the Illinois state contest on March 2 in Springfield, IL. Each champion at the state level will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, to compete for the national championship in April. The school of the state champion will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry books.

To learn more about the Illinois Poetry Out Loud contest, visit www.poetryoutloud.org.