Hawai‘i Student Places Second at National Finals

Posted on Apr 28, 2017 in Arts Education, Blog Post, Poetry Out Loud
Nicholas Amador at the Poetry Out Loud Competition national finals. Nicolas faces right with his arms outstretched as he recites a poem during the competition.

Nicholas Amador at the Poetry Out Loud Competition national finals. Photo credit: James Kegley

 

Hawai‘i student Nicholas Amador placed second in the National Poetry Out Loud Competition in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, April 26, 2017. Nicholas recited “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold, “Lions” by Sandra McPherson and “Windy City” by Stuart Dybek. The Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA) congratulates Nicholas and Punahou School’s Poetry Out Loud coordinator Lara Cowell for this prestigious achievement. The SFCA also thanks the Honolulu Theatre for Youth for their Poetry Out Loud partnership, which supports Hawai‘i’s participation. Nicholas recently performed in the Punahou School production of Les Misérables as Jean Valjean, where he is a junior, and is a fan of musical theater. He wants to direct and write plays in the future.

This is the third time a Hawai‘i student has placed in the top three nationally. Nicholas took third place in 2016, and former Mid-Pacific Institute student Kellie Anae took third place in 2006. The competition helped Anae earn a scholarship to Louisiana State University, and says “this event helps young voices come alive through poetry.”

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with U.S. state arts agencies (including Hawai‘i’s State Foundation on Culture and the Arts) to support Poetry Out Loud, a free high school program that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and and learn about their literary heritage.

SFCA Executive Director Jonathan Johnson says “at the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, we appreciate the way the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have made it possible to shine a light on the American tradition of poetry and recitation. As an island state, we value the next generation and their capacity to communicate accurately and clearly.

Partnering with the Honolulu Theatre for Youth is a wonderful example of how working with local organizations helps us expand our reach into all of the communities in our island state, and highlight the talent and hard work of our youth on a national stage. We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of the Honolulu Theatre for Youth and our shared mission to support arts and culture in Hawai‘i.

We congratulate Nicholas Amador on his second place win and look forward to how he will use his public speaking skills in the future.”

Poetry Out Loud is on Twitter at @PoetryOutLoud and @NEAarts, #POL17. Read more about the Poetry Out Loud program on their website, poetryoutloud.org.