Jesca Gilbert of Valor Christian High School has been named the 2019 Colorado Poetry Out Loud champion. Ana Madrano of Thornton High School is first runner-up, and Nathan Zurfluh of Estes Park High School and Belinda Garrow of Fountain Valley School placed third and fourth, respectively.
Competing against students from 20 local high schools, Gilbert scored the most points with her performances of “Violins” by Rowan Ricardo Phillips, “I, Too” by Langston Hughes, and “Hope is a thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson at the Poetry Out Loud State Finals on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at Lakewood Cultural Center. Gilbert will travel to Washington, D.C., in April to represent Colorado at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals. The winner of the national finals will receive a $20,000 cash honorarium.
Sponsored by Colorado Creative Industries and managed by Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Poetry Out Loud is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. The aim is to help students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and to learn about their literary heritage.