The Santa Cruz County Office of Education has a strong partnership with the Arts Council Santa Cruz to bring the national Poetry Out Loud competition to our county. Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation competition created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, both organizations based in Washington D.C. Since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than 3.6 million students and 55,000 teachers from 14,000 schools in every state. In California this year, Santa Cruz County is one of the 54 (out of 58) counties in our state to bring this program to our schools.
Students initially compete at the school level and then move onto the county level. From there they go to State that will be held in Sacramento March 10-11. And finally, the winner of state will go onto Nationals in Washington D.C.
On Wednesday, February 6, approximately 100 people throughout the night attended to hear 6 of our schools’ final contestants. Plus, in order to support multilingualism in our county, we had students recite poetry in Spanish, Farsi, and French.
We had a panel of outstanding judges including the Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, Danusha Lameris, and our own Julia Chiapella, Executive Director of the Young Writers Project. Also serving as judges were Nancy Gomez of Santa Cruz Poetry Project that works with poetry in our jail and prison system, and Armando Alcaraz, singer, songwriter and mindfulness educator.
Our first place winner, Dannika Marcus, and runner-up, Ariana Lomas, come from Watsonville High where Christine Kopecky (English Dept. Chair) has been a consistent and active supporter of the program for the last 4 years. Dannika will be going to State on March 10 where we wish her the best on her recitation.