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Sacramento County High School Students Shine in the Poetry Spotlight

McClatchy High School Student Wins Fifth Annual Poetry Out Loud Event

Maya Haines and Marsalis Cannady

Competition winner Maya Haines from C.K. McClatchy High School and runner-up Marsalis Cannady from Pleasant Grove High School.

Talented and energetic students from 17 local high schools took center-stage January 7 at Rosemont High School in Sacramento County's fifth 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 Maya Haines of C.K. McClatchy High School, in the Sacramento City Unified School District, who will advance to the California Poetry Out Loud competition in Sacramento on March 22-23, 2010. Marsalis Cannady from Pleasant Grove High School, in the Elk Grove Unified School District, 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. The program provides students with the opportunity to perform poetry in English classes, encouraging youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. Students who won contests at their high school qualified to compete at the county level.

Schools represented in Sacramento County's 2010 Poetry Out Loud competition included:

  • Bella Vista High School (Joshua Velasco)
  • C.K. McClatchy High School (Maya Haines)
  • Center High School (Stephanie Martinez)
  • Del Campo High School(Danielle Biesanz)
  • Elinor Lincoln Hickey Jr.-Sr. High School (Raven Blanson)
  • Elk Grove High School (Daniel Horne)
  • Galt High School (Alani Pineda)
  • Gerber High School (Keshon Stewart)
  • Inderkum High School (Ambrosia Greene)
  • John F. Kennedy High School (Nancy Lu)
  • Leo A. Palmiter Jr.-Sr. High School (Ian Reynolds)
  • Mesa Verde High School (Ashley Cooke)
  • Monterey Trail High School (Dalvin Clifford)
  • Natomas Charter High School (Jillian Wilson)
  • Pleasant Grove High School (Marsalis Cannady)
  • Rio Linda High School (Cyle Hellwig)
  • Sacramento Country Day (Barrie Feusi)

Sacramento County Board of Education trustees Adriana X. Echandía and Greg Geeting assisted Bob Stanley, the 2009-10 Poet Laureate of Sacramento City and County, and event Master of Ceremonies, with congratulating the participants and distributing the awards.

California's overall winner will receive $200 and an expenses-paid trip to compete in the national competition in Washington, D.C. The National Finals and Semifinals will be held April 26 & 27, 2010. 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.

Sacramento County's Poetry Out Loud judges included: Tim Kahl, poet and Sacramento City College professor; Alexa Mergen, California Poets in the Schools; Dr. L. Steven Winlock, regional theater performer and education consultant; Peter Mohrmann, co-founder of Capital Stage; Jeff Knorr, author and poet; poet JoAnn Anglin, Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol; Michele Krueger, California Poets in the Schools; Theresa McCourt, poet; Joshua McKinney, poet and English professor at California State University, Sacramento; and Joshua Romano, writing instructor.

Sacramento County's Poetry Out Loud program is funded in part by the Sacramento County Office of Education, the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission (with support from the City and County of Sacramento), and the California Arts Council through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Poetry Foundation.