Colorado Creative Industries Announces Winners of Poetry Out Loud Contest

DENVER, CO (March 16, 2021) — Colorado Creative Industries announces the winners of the Colorado Poetry Out Loud™ contest. The 2021 Colorado State Champion is Aidyn Reid from Fountain Valley School in Colorado Springs. The state Runner-up is Alejandra Naranjo from Eaton High School and third place winner and second runner-up is Savannah Wanebo from Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch. 

Poetry Out Loud, presented in partnership with Lighthouse Writers Workshop, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation, is a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry—both classic and contemporary—through memorization, performance and competition. Since the program began in 2005, more than four million students across the country have taken part in Poetry Out Loud. On March 13, 2021, ten high school students from throughout the state participated in the 2021 Colorado Poetry Out Loud Virtual State Finals.

Ten students submitted video recitations of works to Lighthouse Writers Workshop. Judges evaluated student performances on criteria including voice and articulation, evidence of understanding, and accuracy. Students selected their poems from an anthology of more than 1,100 poems. To support Poetry Out Loud, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation created free, standards-based curriculum materials including a teacher’s guide, lesson plans, an online anthology, posters, and video and audio on the art of recitation. These resources are available for free at

Aidyn will receive $200 and advance to the national finals—held virtually in Spring 2021—where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed. Fountain Valley, as the school of the state champion, will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. The first runner-up in each state will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. The Poetry Foundation provides and administers all aspects of the monetary prizes awarded. 

For those interested in watching the Poetry Out Loud performances, tune into PBS, Channel 12 on Thursday, March 18 at 7 p.m. for Words by Heart: A Showcase of the 2021 Colorado Poetry Out Loud Virtual State Finals.

"We're deeply appreciative of the high school teachers who worked with students across Colorado to coach and prepare their students for this year's competition, particularly in this past year of extraordinary challenges,” said Margaret Hunt, Director of Colorado Creative Industries. The professional commitment of these teachers is praiseworthy and we are extremely grateful for their efforts. I’d also like to thank this year’s judges; Stephen Brackett, Heather Dalton, Ryan Foo, Sydney Fowler, Juliette Lee and Suzi Q Smith.”

To learn more about the Colorado Poetry Out Loud contest, email Roxanne Malia Banks or visit