March 8, 2012

NJ Poetry Out Loud State Finals March 21st!

For Immediate Release
 8, 2012
Media Contact: 
Allison Tratner
New Jersey Poetry Out Loud State Finals to be held March 21st
Eight High School Students Compete for a Spot in the Nationals
(Trenton, NJ) Eight high school students from around the state will compete on Wednesday, March 21st in the 7th annual New Jersey Poetry Out Loud State Finals for the opportunity to represent New Jersey in the National Finals in Washington, DC next month. The competition will be held at The College of New Jersey's Kendall Hall Mainstage Theatre, and is presented by the NJ State Council on the Arts, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, and Discover Jersey Arts, an initiative of the Council and the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation. The event starts at 10:00am, and tickets are free and available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Reserve tickets and get more information at

The competition, in which students recite and perform great works of classical and contemporary poetry, is the dramatic culmination of a statewide contest that began in the fall and included more than 19,000 New Jersey students from 108 high schools and one homeschool association. Students competed first at the classroom and school level, and then at the regional level to determine who would move on to the State Finals. Student recitations are evaluated by a panel of jurors using standardized, national criteria based on merit and accuracy. This year's State Finals panel includes special guest juror Frankie Faison, New Jersey resident and veteran stage, screen and television actor widely known for his starring role in the HBO series The Wire.

The eight regional champions (two from each region) who will compete for the title of NJ Poetry Out Loud State Champion and runner-up are:
Sarah Finnan, Cinnaminson High School
Brianne Barker, Dumont High School 
Daisha Davis, Essex County Vocational School (Newark) 
Jacob Ohring, High Tech High School (North Bergen) 
Michael Chang, The Hun School of Princeton
Kristin Tsuo, The Lawrenceville School
Allison Beres, Vineland High School 
Clarissa Lotson, West Orange High School

New Jersey Poetry Out Loud is part of the national Poetry Out Loud program made possible through the funding and leadership of th
e National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation. The winner and runner-up will receive cash awards and stipends provided by the NEA and the Poetry Foundation for the purchase of poetry books by their schools. The State Champion will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, DC to compete against 52 other State, District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Champions in the National Finals in April for prizes totaling $50,000 in awards and school stipends. All monetary prizes are provided by the NEA and the Poetry Foundation. Learn more about New Jersey Poetry Out Loud at
Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the NEA, the Poetry Foundation, and the state arts agencies of the United States. The program seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry - recitation and performance- to help students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. To maximize the positive impact of the program in New Jersey the New Jersey State Council on the Arts partners with Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey to provide intensive school residencies by professional poets and performing artists for interested schools. For more on the national program visit

The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey began operations in 2004 and plans to promote health and the arts by supporting charitable organizations making a positive impact in the lives of people in communities throughout New Jersey. For more information about the foundation, visit

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts is a division of the NJ Department of State. It receives funding in direct appropriations from the State of New Jersey through a dedicated Hotel/Motel Occupancy fee and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Since 1966, its volunteer members and professional staff have worked to improve the quality of life in New Jersey by helping the arts to flourish. For more information about the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, please visit Further information regarding the arts in New Jersey is found on an interactive web site,, and available on a toll-free hotline 1-800- THE ARTS.

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