Elliot Davidson named ‘Poetry Out Loud’ state champion

HARRISBURG – Elliot Davidson, a sophomore from Lewisburg Area High School, is Pennsylvania’s 2014 “Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest” champion. Davidson will go on to compete in the national contest in Washington, D.C.

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts hosted the competition at the governor’s residence.. Gov. Tom Corbett, along with first lady Susan Corbett, chair of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, welcomed 14 students from across the state to the residence.

“Governor Corbett and I are honored to host the finals for Pennsylvania’s ‘Poetry Out Loud’ competition. Today celebrates the talent and commitment of Pennsylvania’s high school-aged students,” said Susan Corbett. “They inspire us with their recitations and the insights they bring to words on a page. We join the Council on the Arts in congratulating this year’s finalists and the parents, teachers and principals who supported them in this endeavor.”

Davidson will represent Pennsylvania at the national championship to be held in Washington, D.C. April 28-30. The state champion will receive $200 from The Poetry Foundation and an expense-paid trip to compete in the national championship, which will award a total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends, with at least one $20,000 college scholarship.

Second place went to Anna Voelker, a senior at Hampton High School. Davidson and Voelker were among 14 regional finalists chosen from among 10,000 high school-aged students who participated in this year’s competition.

Each student memorized and performed three poems selected from print and online poetry anthologies. Students were judged on voice and articulation, physical presence, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, level of difficulty, overall performance and accuracy.

The 12 other regional finalists competing today were:

Ean Ammerman, grade 12, Sullivan County School District.

Lydia Berry, grade 12, Altoona Area School District.

Catherine Bloom, grade 12, Carlisle Area School District.

KiraJayne Nahree Burkhauser, grade 10, Hermitage School District.

Serene DeSeta, grade 12, Abington Heights School District.

Rachel Krunszyinsky, grade 12, Greensburg Salem School District.

Joseph Kukula, grade 12, Blairsville-Saltsburg School District.

Aaron Preston, grade 11, Reading School District.

Tatiana Purnell, grade 11, Mercersburg Academy.

Pratiti Roy, grade 12, State College Area School District.

Nirvikar Singh, grade 10, William Penn Charter School.

Alexa Vaghenas, grade 10, Stroudsburg Area School District.

The panel of judges for the state championship included performers, poets and cultural and business leaders from across the state.

For more information about the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, visit www.pacouncilonthearts.org or call 717-787-6883.

For more information on “Poetry Out Loud,” visit www.poetryout loud.org.