Harrisburg, PA - Steven R. File, a junior from York Suburban School District in York County, is Pennsylvania’s 2020 Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest state champion. File will represent Pennsylvania in the national contest in Washington, D.C., April 27 - 29, 2020.
The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) hosted the competition at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. Karl Blischke, PCA executive director, welcomed the finalists to the state championship.
“Today we celebrate the evocative language of poetry and the remarkable talents of these 14 high school students from across the commonwealth,” said Blischke. “Participation in the arts, and in programs like Poetry Out Loud, help students cultivate key skills that lead to success in school and the workplace, building Pennsylvania’s future pool of innovators and creative thinkers.”
The state champion receives $200 from the Poetry Foundation and an expense-paid trip to the national championship. A total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends will be awarded at the national championship, with at least one $20,000 award.
Second place in the state finals went to Raycell Díaz Hernández, a senior from Reading School District in Berks County.
The 14 regional finalists were among the 4,600 high school students who participated in this year’s competition in 110 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 14 students performed in the first two rounds of competition, with the top five of 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 the 14 regional finalists who competed today includes:
Aidan Bobik, Elk County, Saint Marys Area School District
- Archer Castle, Delaware County, Rose Tree Media School District
- Braven Dulaney, Monroe County, East Stroudsburg Area School District
- Steven R. File, York County, York Suburban School District
- Raycell Díaz Hernández, Berks County, Reading School District
- Thomas Lane, Pike County, Wallenpaupack Area School District
- Jordan Marie Lewis, Dauphin County, Derry Township School District
- Zachary Marshall, Juniata County, Juniata County School District
- Samantha Michaels, Cambria County, Saint Francis University Upward Bound Program
- Oam Patel, Lycoming County, Williamsport Area School District
- John Michael Rosenblum, Centre County, State College Area School District
- Huanhuan Wang, Mercer County, Hermitage School District
- Lily Weatherford-Brown, Allegheny County, Pittsburgh Public Schools
- 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 arts.pa.gov or call 717-787-6883. For more information about Poetry Out Loud, visit poetryoutloud.org.
MEDIA CONTACT: Norah Johnson - 717-525-5549
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