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Huntingdon County Student Named 2022 ‘Poetry Out Loud’ State Champion


Harrisburg, PA – Mario Grugan, a senior from Tyrone Area School District in Huntingdon County, is Pennsylvania's 2022 Poetry Out Loud (POL) state champion. Grugan will represent Pennsylvania in the National Finals, which will be streamed virtually beginning on May 1, 2022.

"Poetry Out Loud helps students master critical skills for success in school and the workplace," said Blischke. "This year, students from across the commonwealth competed in the program and displayed great skill in their recitations. I would like to thank and commend each of these students for their participation and dedication and wish Mario great success as he moves on to the national championship."

The POL state champion receives $200 from the Poetry Foundation and, in non-pandemic years, an expense-paid trip to the national championship. The POL state champion's school receives $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. At the national finals, a total of $50,000 in awards and school/organizational stipends is awarded annually.

First runner-up in the state finals went to Julia Wirths, a junior from DuBois Area School District in Clearfield County. As runner-up, Wirths will receive $100 and $200 for her school.

The 13 state POL competitors were among more than 4,217 high school students who participated in this year's competition, with the help and support of 304 teachers/coaches in 86 schools across Pennsylvania.

Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. The contest is facilitated through PCA, working with regional partner organizations.

Each student memorized and prepared three poems selected from print and online poetry anthologies. All 13 students performed in the first two rounds of competition, with the top five going on to compete in the third and final round. Students were judged on voice and articulation, physical presence, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, overall performance and accuracy.

The complete list of all 13 regional competitors who competed in the 2022 POL state championship includes:

  • Caitlin Blessel, Elk County, St. Marys School District
  • Niya Chagantipati, Cumberland County, Cumberland Valley School District
  • Olivia Currier, Montgomery County, Merion Mercy Academy
  • Charlotte Fisher, Berks County, Oley Valley School District
  • Mario Grugan, Huntingdon County, Tyrone Areas school District
  • Philip Huffman, Lackawanna County, Scranton Area School District
  • Gabriella Lozada, Salisbury School District
  • Oli Patchell, Centre County, The Delta Program
  • Montika Smith, York County, York City School District
  • Micah Stouffer, Columbia County, Bloomsburg Christian School
  • Jack Strawser, Juniata County, Juniata County School District
  • Sophia Traczek, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School
  • Julia Wirths, Clearfield County, DuBois Area School District

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) is a state agency under the Office of the Governor. The mission of the PCA is to strengthen the cultural, educational and economic vitality of Pennsylvania's communities through the arts. By leveraging the immense potential of Pennsylvania's arts and cultural sector, the PCA supports jobs, builds community, inspires lifelong learning, promotes the commonwealth nationally and internationally, and sparks innovation.

For more information about the PCA, visit or call 717-787-6883. For more information about Poetry Out Loud, visit


MEDIA CONTACT: Norah Johnson, 717-585-4713

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