Hall's Mandy Nguyen Named Poetry Out Loud State Champ

Hall High’s School Champion, tenth grader Mandy Nguyen, won the title of Arkansas State Champion in the statewide Poetry Out Loud Contest held Saturday, March 2, 2013, at Pulaski Technical College Auditorium.  Nguyen along with Hall’s poetry coach, Ms. Georgia Walton, will travel to Washington, D.C., in April to represent Arkansas in the national contest. As the State champion, Mandy won a $200.00 first place prize and Hall won a $500.00 award for use on poetry related items. This is the third state level win for Hall High School and Ms. Walton, the only high school and poetry coach to have that distinction in the State. Three wins from a single high school and poetry coach is also believed to be a National distinction throughout the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Hall’s previous winners are the late Roshundalyn Scribner in 2006 and Temple Price in 2008.

Poetry Out Loud is a National Poetry Recitation Contest is a national arts education program that is sponsored by National Endowment for the Arts and funded by a $200 million endowment from the widow of Eli Lily of Eli Lily Pharmaceuticals. The local contest is sponsored by the Arkansas Arts Council. The program encourages the study of great poetry and includes a dynamic recitation competition at high schools across the country. Poetry Out Loud was created in partnership by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation with the collaboration of state arts agencies as a way to foster the next generation of readers by building on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the poetry slam movement and the popularity of rap music. Through Poetry Out Loud, students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

The Arts Endowment and the Poetry Foundation implemented a pilot program in Washington, DC- and Chicago-area schools in 2005. Starting with the 2005-2006 school year, Poetry Out Loud has presented a national competition, reaching high school students in every state and the District of Columbia. In 2008, the U.S. Virgin Islands joined the nationwide competition, followed by Puerto Rico in 2009. An estimated 363,000 students from more than 1,900 schools participated in the 2010-2011 Poetry Out Loud competition.