2016-17 Poetry Out Loud

Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. POL uses a pyramid structure that begins at the classroom level. Winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a regional and/or state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals in Washington, DC. More than 100,000 students are expected to take part in POL nationwide each year.

To learn more about the Poetry Out Loud contest and competion, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Delaware Poetry Out Loud State Finals

The annual poetry recitation finals will be held at the Smyrna Opera House on Tuesday, February 28 at 7 p.m. The event is free and the public is welcome to attend.

Scott F. Mason, president of Chapel Street Players and award-winning actor, playwright, and director will serve as the Master of Ceremonies and introduce the speakers. He will be followed by Paul Weagraff, director of the Delaware Division of the Arts and the Honorable Jeffrey W. Bullock, State of Delaware secretary of state, who will greet contestants and give opening remarks. J. Mack Wathen, chair of Delaware State Arts Council will conclude by recognizing the panel of adjudicators.

The 2017 Poetry Out Loud participants are:



Glynnis Leach

Concord High School

Carly LePore

Dover High School

Shalyn Littlejohn

Hodgson Vo-Tech High School

Natalie Nwanekwu

Newark Charter Jr./Sr. High School

Shannon Murray

Padua Academy

Nick Thompson

Polytech High School

Ryan Washington

Sanford School

Tania Laurent

Seaford High School

Mollie Russell

St. Mark’s High School

Sam McGarvey

Tall Oaks Classical School

Jane Krukiel

Ursuline Academy

Andrew Dingwall

Wilmington Christian School

Cecilia Ergueta

Wilmington Friends School

Scott F. Mason, president of Chapel Street Players and award-winning actor, playwright, and director will be the Master of Ceremonies. Adjudicators include Chantalle Ashford, Russell Susumu Endo, Ajit Matthew George, Joseph Masiello, Devon Miller-Duggan, and Jane Rubini. They bring their personal and professional experience as poets, educators, and performing artists to judge the participants on physical presence, voice and articulation, appropriateness of dramatization, level of difficulty, evidence of understanding, overall performance, and accuracy.  Delaware State Arts Council member, Dr. Donna Blakey, will serve as the accuracy judge, ensuring that competitors recite the poems correctly

Get involved with Poetry Out Loud in five easy steps


Complete school registration form by September 30, 2016 - Applications now closed


Teacher kit which features dynamic teaching tools that will kindle students' excitement about literature and poetry recitation


Program in the classroom with sample lesson plans, DVD's of past student performances, and teaching artist-led workshops (upon request)


School competition to determine a school champion and first runner-up to represent your school at the state finals


Student representative & alternate forms by January 13, 2017

Poetry Out Loud Forms:

  • Now closed: School Registration Form (Green) - Due September 30, 2016
  • Now closed: School Representative Form (Red) - Due January 13, 2017
  • Now closed: School Alternate Form (Orange) - Due January 13, 2017

Program Timeline

Friday, September 30, 2016 School Registration Form Deadline
October–December 2016 Classroom/School Competitions
Friday, January 13, 2017 Deadline to Report School Winners
February 2017 Delaware State Semi-finals (TBD)
Tuesday, February 28, 2017 Delaware State Competition (Smyrna, DE)
April 24–26, 2017 National Competition (Washington, DC)

Past Poetry Out Loud State Finalists