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March 9, 2009

Knoxville Teen Wins Poetry Out Loud State Final

KNOXVILLE - - Hardin Valley Academy student Stacey Padilla took top honors Saturday, March 7 at Tennessee’s state final for Poetry Out Loud. The competition, hosted by the Tennessee Arts Commission, was held at the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville. As the state winner, Padilla will advance to the national finals in Washington, DC in April.

Poetry Out Loud is a program sponsored nationally by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation.  Organized along the lines of the national spelling bee, Poetry Out Loud promotes competitions at the high school level throughout the country, with local winners going on to state finals, and from there to the national championship competition. The program encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.

In Tennessee, 16 students participated in the recent competition. The inaugural competition was held in Nashville in 2006, expanded to include the entire Middle Tennessee area in 2007, and was held in West Tennessee in 2008. This year’s final was in East Tennessee. The Poetry Out Loud program will go statewide in 2010.

During the state final in Knoxville, Padilla performed “Dream Song 14” by John Berrymore, “Sympathy” by Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and “Sugar Dada” by J. Allyn Rosser.

As the first place winner Padilla will receive a $200 prize check and an all-expense-paid trip to compete at the National Finals on April 28 in Washington, DC.  Her school, Hardin Valley Academy in Knoxville, will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.  Katherine Benson from University High School in Johnson City was the runner-up in the competition. Her school will also receive $500 for poetry books.

About the Tennessee Arts Commission
When the Tennessee Arts Commission was created in 1967, it was given a special mandate by the General Assembly to stimulate and encourage the presentation of performing, visual and literary arts throughout the state and to encourage public interest in the cultural heritage of Tennessee. Through a variety of programs, the Commission has encouraged excellence in artistic expression through the state's artists and arts organizations. That commitment has continued to expand through the years to ensure that the citizens of Tennessee have access to, and the opportunity to participate in the arts.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education.  Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases.

About The Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine and one of the largest literary organizations in the world, exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience.  The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs.  Foe more information visit www.poetryfoundation.org.

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