Wyoming Arts Council

Announcing the Winners of Wyoming’s 2018 Poetry Out Loud State Competition

State Champion Lauren Haiar of Sundance Secondary School will represent Wyoming at the National Finals in Washington D.C. from April 23-25.

Wyoming’s 13th Annual Poetry Out Loud State Competition took place Monday night in Cheyenne. High school students from across the state competed for a $200 prize, a $500 stipend for their school to purchase poetry books, and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete at the National Finals.

Lauren Haiar became Wyoming’s 2018 State Champion. Ms. Haiar also won in 2017, making her a two-time champion. She will go on to represent Wyoming at the National Finals in Washington D.C., April 23-25. State Runner-up was Kailee Behunin, and Third Place went to Georgia Wages. Mataya Sipe, Chase Marple, Charles David Dechert, Rachael Carver, and J.D. Whisler all took home honorable mentions.

Judging criteria included physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, and overall performance. Judges were Colorado poet Adrian Molina, Wyoming poet Matt Daly, Wyoming’s Poet Laureate Eugene Gagliano, and University of Wyoming student and past Poetry Out Loud State Champion Sara Ellingrod. On Tuesday, following a morning of poetry workshops for the participants and chaperones, State Treasurer Mark Gordon announced the results at an awards ceremony held in the lobby of the Barrett Building.

Poetry Out Loud is a program that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. Developed by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is a free contest for high-school students (grades 9-12) in both public and private schools. It serves every state and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. The Wyoming Arts Council is proud to support and administer this program in the Cowboy State.

Participating schools included Sundance Secondary School, Lander Valley High School, Buffalo High School, Kaycee High School, Western Heritage Lutheran Academy, Fremont County Homeschool Group, Worland High School, and Moorcroft High School.

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