Maryland Names Poetry Out Loud State Champion: Kyle Shreve from Frederick County
The Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) today announced that Kyle Shreve, a freshman at Tuscarora High School in Frederick County, placed first at the 2015 Maryland Poetry Out Loud (POL) state final competition on Saturday, March 7 at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Radio personality Aaron Henkin of WYPR hosted the event, which featured three scored rounds of poetry recitation from the eight Maryland students who advanced through classroom, school, county and regional contests among more than 16,000 competitors to arrive at Saturday’s state final.
“I was very impressed with the poise of the contestants," said Theresa Colvin, Executive Director of the MSAC. "Their ability to convey the emotional depth of each poem was truly remarkable and a reflection of their deep understanding of the written word."
Kyle Shreve recited “Possible Answers to Prayer" by Scott Cairns, "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold, and “Song of the Powers" by David Mason.
“I was genuinely surprised that I came out the champion,” says the 15-year-old Shreve. “The other seven contestants were so incredibly talented, and I was grateful to have even made it to the top three.”
Shreve says he lost the jitters as the competition moved along. “By the time I performed my third poem, I had gotten comfortable with the stage and the audience, and many of my nerves had vanished. I had a lot of fun reciting my third poem especially, and it was such a great feeling to see members of the audience grin at some of my gestures in my performance,” he adds.
As champion, Shreve receives $200 and a trip to Washington, D.C. to represent Maryland in the POL National Finals, April 28-29 at the George Washington University, Lisner Auditorium. Tuscarora High School will receive a $500 stipend toward the purchase of poetry books.
Blessed Sheriff of Richard Montgomery High School (Montgomery County), the 2013 Maryland POL Champion who finished second at the National POL Finals that year, placed second at this year’s state finals. Paige Hilton of Boonsboro High School (Washington County) placed third.
“I thought that both Blessed and Paige gave stunning performances in the final round,” said Shreve. “In fact, the performances from Rachel, Amy, Taraea, Spencer, and Caleb were all amazing. When Blessed was announced second, I was surprised. I was very honored to have competed with students that talented, let alone win.”
“This has been a such an amazing journey and experience for me, and I am very grateful to be given the opportunity to continue it into Nationals,” Shreve said, who credits his English teacher Linda Henry’s encouragement to participate in the POL.
More than 16,000 Maryland students in 16 counties and 51 schools participated in POL this year. A panel of judges scored students’ performances in categories such as level of difficulty, dramatic appropriateness, voice and articulation and overall performance.
Among the judges was Jonathan Katz, former CEO of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, who helped create the partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation to establish Poetry Out Loud.
This is the 10th anniversary of the POL program. In Maryland, 98,000 students have participated in that time, 2.6 million nationwide, learning about their literary heritage and building confidence and public speaking skills. The Maryland POL program, which encourages high school students to learn poetry through memorization and recitation, is supported by the MSAC in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation. The statewide competition is open to all Maryland high schools, grades 9-12.
YouTube clips from the POL Maryland Finals are available online. To learn more about Poetry Out Loud visit the website at www.poetryoutloud.org. For information about the Maryland competition visit www.msac.org/poetryoutloud, or contact Program Director, Chris Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Maryland State Arts Council
An agency of the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) is dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. Maryland State Arts Council grantees generate $1 billion in economic activity and support more than 12,000 jobs and $45 million in state and local tax revenue. Source: Source: Economic Impact of the Arts in Maryland: FY2013. For information call (410) 767-6555 or TTY (410) 333-4519.