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Local Sacramento County Students Present Poetry in the Spotlight

Inderkum High Student Wins Fourth Annual Poetry Out Loud Event

Dwight Sanders on stage

Dwight Sanders of Inderkum High School will advance to the California Poetry Out Loud competition, March 22–23.

Performing, chanting and rhyming ... students from 21 local high schools took center-stage February 5th at Rosemont High School in Sacramento County's fourth annual Poetry Out Loud recitation contest. Before a live audience and a panel of judges, each student presented two memorized poems. Students were judged on physical presence, voice and articulation, appropriateness of dramatization, level of difficulty, evidence of understanding, and overall performance.

The winner was Dwight Sanders of Inderkum High School, who will advance to the California Poetry Out Loud competition in Sacramento on March 22-23. Erica Leshchik of Mesa Verde High School was selected as runner-up.

The Sacramento County Poetry Out Loud competition was presented by the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) to encourage high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. Students who won contests at their high school qualified to compete at the county level.

California's overall winner will receive $200 and an expenses-paid trip to compete in the national competition April 27 in Washington, D.C. A total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends will be awarded at the national finals, with a $20,000 college scholarship awarded to the national champion.

Poetry Out Loud embraces the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the immense popularity of rap music. Poetry Out Loud invites the opportunity to perform poetry in English classes, encouraging youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. Through the rhythm of poetry, students learn the language arts elements of classic literature and the skills of literary analysis. Students also master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn more about their cultural heritage.

Sacramento County's Poetry Out Loud judges included: Albert Garcia, Dean of the Language and Literature Division at Sacramento City College; Heather Hutchinson, Assistant Professor of English at Cosumnes River College; Jeff Knorr, Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at Sacramento City College; Katherine Lemke Waste, award winning Contemporary Realist Artist; Bob Stanley, President of the Sacramento Poetry Center and Professor of English at Sacramento State University and Sacramento City College.

Schools represented in Sacramento County's 2009 Poetry Out Loud competition included:

  • Carson Creek High: J. Alexander
  • C.K. McClatchy High: Brett Chance
  • Center High: Stephanie Martinez
  • Del Campo High: Danielle Biesanz
  • Discovery High: Jasmine Butler
  • Leo A. Palmiter High: Ian Reynolds
  • Elk Grove High: Sara Luman
  • Galt High: Natali Correa
  • Gerber High: Brian Faison
  • Grant High: Brittany Bey
  • Heritage Peak Charter: Sarah Law
  • Inderkum High: Dwight Sanders
  • John F. Kennedy: Tatiana Zaccarias
  • Luther Burbank: Gaolee Vang
  • Mesa Verde: Erica Leshchik
  • Monterey Trail: Mariamu Osumah
  • Natomas: Jocelyn Whittemore
  • Pleasant Grove: Johanna Pugh
  • Rio Linda: Kristy Lao
  • Sacramento Country Day: C.K. Keiner
  • Vista Nueva: Shapre Nichols

Sacramento County's Poetry Out Loud program is supported by the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, the California Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation.