Kristi Avila, from Elk Grove High School, is the winner of the Sacramento County Poetry Out Loud competition for 2007. The senior took first place in a field of eighteen during the Sacramento County finals, held Friday, March 2, 2007, at Rosemont High School in Sacramento.
Avila will represent Sacramento County in the state finals, March 23, 2007 at the
Secretary of State Theater from 1:00 p.m to 4:00 p.m. The winner of the California competition is eligible to compete in the 2007 Poetry Out Loud National Finals, held in Washington, D.C., on April 30 and May 1, 2007.
State winners will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington to compete for the national championship. The state winner's school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. A runner-up in each state will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. A total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends at the National Finals will be awarded to the winners.
The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) is a partner with the California Arts Council in promoting and supporting this poetry contest in the Sacramento region. Other partners for the local competition include: The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the
National Poetry Foundation, California Poets in Schools and the
Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.
Modeled after the National Spelling Bee, the Poetry Out Loud program began in local high school classrooms, with winners advancing to school-wide, then regional competition. Capital regions across the country are participating in regional playoff competitions.
Poetry Out Loud is part of an effort to bring literary arts to students — a critical need in our schools, according to a 2004 NEA report (Reading At Risk) that found a dramatic decline in literary reading. Through the rhythm of poetry, students can learn the language arts elements of classic literature and the skills of literary analysis. The program seeks to develop student's lifelong appreciation for literature and the arts through this process.
More than 250,000 students nationally will take part in Poetry Out Loud this year.