Will Hamel of Stadium High School in Tacoma has won the state Poetry Out Loud finals, held on March 5 at the Broadway Center for Performing Arts. Hamel won the annual poetry recitation competition with his recitations of “Shiloh: A Requiem (April, 1862)” by Herman Melville, “A Supermarket in California” by Allen Ginsberg, and “Without Regret” by Eleanor Wilner.
As the winner of the state finals Hamel won a $200 prize, plus $500 for his school to purchase poetry books. He will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the National Finals in Washington, D.C. on April 27-29.
Said Hamel, of his success: “I found new layers of my voice that I didn’t know were there.”
Fifty-five schools and over 20,000 students in Washington state participated this year in Poetry Out Loud, a national recitation competition sponsored by the Washington State Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the Poetry Foundation. After classroom-level and then school-wide competitions, schools send their top students to one of seven regional finals, before the 12 finalists advance to the state finals to perform in three rounds of recitations selected from a common anthology.
Participants are judged by a panel for accuracy, presence, level of difficulty and other criteria.
Stadium High School has a strong history of Poetry Out Loud performances, with former students such as Olivia Seward reaching the national finals.
The state runner-up was Micah Meadowcroft, a junior from Cedar Tree Classical Christian School in Clark County, who won $100 and a $200 stipend for his school. Three students received honorable mentions: Bonnie Blanchard, a junior from West Valley High School in Yakima, Chelsea Kupitz a senior from Kamiakin High School in Kennewick; and Langston Ward, a sophomore from Mead High School in Spokane.
For more information, visit www.poetryoutloud.org