Skip to Main Content

Sacramento County Crowns 2012 Poetry Out Loud Winner

Natomas Charter School Student Wins Competition

Contest winners holding plaques pose with Board members

Sacramento County Poetry Out Loud contest winner Brittany Wiltz and runner up Sheridan Smith with County Board of Education Trustees (L-R) Greg Geeting, Eleanor L. Brown, and Jacquelyn Levy.

Brittany Wiltz, from Natomas Charter School, is the winner of the Sacramento County Poetry Out Loud for 2012. The student took first place from a field of 14 during the Sacramento County finals, held Wednesday, February 8, at Rosemont High School in Sacramento. Runner up was Sheridan Smith from Pleasant Grove High School. Sacramento Poet Laureate Bob Stanley served as the master of ceremonies.

Wiltz, who also won top honors in 2011, earned the right to represent Sacramento County in the State Finals, March 25-26 in Sacramento. California's overall winner will receive $200 and an expenses-paid trip to compete in the national competition in Washington, D.C. The National Semifinals and Finals will be held May 13-15, 2012. A total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends will be awarded at the National Finals.

The Sacramento County Poetry Out Loud competition encourages 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.

Modeled like the National Spelling Bee, the Poetry Out Loud program began in local high school classrooms, with winners advancing to school-wide, then regional competition. Schools countrywide are participating in regional competitions.

Sacramento County's Poetry Out Loud program is supported by the Sacramento County Office of Education, Art Works, California Poets in the Schools, the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, the Poetry Foundation, and the Crocker Art Museum. It is also funded in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Poetry Out Loud has grown every year with more than 365,000 students competing this year.

2012 Poetry Out Loud competition Participants

  • Zoe Warp (Bella Vista): Her Kind by Anne Sexton
  • Kassia Siakov (Center): Happiness by Jane Kenyon
  • Anastasiya Zhelezoglo (Cordova): Le Belle Dame Sans Merci by John Keats
  • Hannah Guinn (Del Campo): Enough by Suzanne Buffam
  • Ahshay Kobelt (Elk Grove): Thoughtless Cruelty by Charles Lamb
  • Akina Afable (Hiram W. Johnson): Be Music, Night by Kenneth Patchen
  • Ashley Gonik (Inderkum): Flaxman by Margaret Fuller
  • Ramona Sovereign (John F. Kennedy): To the Desert by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • Brittany Wiltz (Natomas Charter): Early Affection by George Moses Horton
  • Sheridan Smith (Pleasant Grove): Passing by Toi Derricotte
  • Katherine DuPont (Rio Americano): Broken Promises by David Kirby
  • Taylor Tuers (Rio Linda): Enough by Suzanne Buffam
  • Claire Pinson (Sacramento Country Day): Fairy-tale Logic by A.E. Stallings
  • Seth Byrd (Sacramento Waldorf): Old Ironsides by Oliver Wendell Holmes

SCOE would like to thank the following people for donating their time to serve as 2012 Poetry Out Loud Judges: Trina Drotar, Frances Kakugawa, Sean King, Kel Munger, Danyen Powell, and L. Steven Winlock, Ed.D.

Participants posing with Poetry Out Loud sign