Photo of Nicholas Amador of Punahou School, the 3rd place winner in the Poetry Out Loud 2016 National Competition. Nicholas stands with his hands outstretched while reciting one of three poems.

Punahou School sophomore Nicholas Amador placed 3rd in the National Poetry Out Loud Competition in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. Nicholas recited “Fishing on the Susquehanna” by Billy Collins, “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” by Walt Whitman, and “Thoughtless Cruelty” by Charles Lamb. The Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts congratulates Nicholas and his teacher and coach Lara Cowell on this prestigious achievement.

Click on this button to hear Nicholas Amador recite "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" by Walt Whitman

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

Click on this button to hear Nicholas Amador recite "Fishing on the Susquehanna" by Billy Collins.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu attended the Poetry Out Loud Hawai‘i State Finals on February 21, 2016, held at Tenney Theatre. Chairman Chu hand-delivered a personal letter from President Barack Obama to Nicholas Amador after the National Finals.

Students and schools received $50,000 in awards and school stipends at the National Finals, including $20,000 for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion, and $10,000 and $5,000 for the second- and third-place finalists. The fourth- to ninth-place finalists each received $1,000. The schools of the top nine finalists received $500 for the purchase of poetry books.