Poetry Out Loud logo

Poetry Out Loud 2017 State Champion, Cecilia ErguetaFrom a competitive field of 13 Delaware high school students, Cecilia Ergueta, a junior from Wilmington Friends School, earned the title of 2017 Poetry Out Loud Delaware State Champion at the state finals held in Smyrna, Del. on Feb. 28. The first runner-up was Shalyn Littlejohn from Hodgson Vo-Tech High School and the second runner-up was Sam McGarvey from Tall Oaks Classical High School.

Ergueta’s final recitation, The True-Blue American by Delmore Schwartz, earned her high marks with the judges. The full poem can be found on the Poetry Foundation’s website.

For her winning presentation, Ergueta will receive $200 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington with a chaperone to compete at the national championship on April 25-26. Wilmington Friends School will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. Shalyn Littlejohn, the first runner-up will receive $100, and Hodgson Vo-Tech High School will receive $200 for its school library.

The Poetry Out Loud state competition, sponsored by the Delaware Division of the Arts in partnership with 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.

Hi Res Photos can be downloaded from the Media Kit below, please use the photo credit: Kathleen Buckalew for all photos used.

2017 Poetry Out Loud Media Kit

Top Row: Nick Thompson, Mollie Russell, Ryan Washington
Middle Row: Shannon Murray, Cecilia Ergueta, Jane Krukiel
Bottom Row: Andrew Dingwall, Natalie Nwanekwu, Shalyn Littlejohn,
Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, Tania Laurent, Glynnis Leach, Sam McGarvey
Not Pictured: Carly Lepore

Photo Credit: Kathleen Buckalew


Delaware State Competition, Tuesday, February 28, 2017
at 7:00 p.m., Smyrna Opera House, Smyrna, Delaware

2017 Poetry Out Loud - Participating High Schools

Caesar Rodney High School

Cape Henlopen High School

Caravel Academy

Concord High School

Dover High School

Hodgson Vo-Tech High School

Milford Senior High School

Mount Sophia Academy

Newark Charter Jr./Sr. High School

Padua Academy

Polytech High School

Red Lion Christian Academy

Sanford School

Seaford High School

St. Marks High School

Tall Oaks Classical School

Ursuline Academy

Wilmington Christian School

Wilmington Friends School

Woodbridge High School

About 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.

Invite Poetry Out Loud into Your High School's English Classrooms!

The teacher registration deadline has passed for the 2017 Poetry Out Loud program, however, learn more about this program by visiting the Frequently Asked Questions page. Information and materials to plan a Poetry Out Loud program in the future can be reviewed by visiting the Poetry Out Loud website at www.poetryoutloud.org.

In the early fall of each year, registered teachers will receive a packet of materials—dynamic teaching tools that will kindle students’ excitement about literature and poetry recitation. The teaching materials include sample lesson plans, audio CDs of poets reciting their own favorite works, publicity materials for school competitions, and a DVD of winning student performances from past National Finals competitions.

Registration information for the 2018 Poetry Out Loud program will be available on this website in late August 2017. Please revisit the website at that time. For more immediate information about registering your school, contact JoAnn Balingit at joann.balingit@state.de.us.

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)

August 2017

2018 Registration Information to be avaialble

Previous Poetry Out Loud Delaware - State Finalists