2019 Poetry Out Loud Hawaii State Champion

Posted on Feb 27, 2019 in Arts Education, Blog Post, National Endowment for the Arts, Performing Arts, Poetry Out Loud

Smiling student with Poetry Out Loud logo

Congratulations to Maggie Odom, Hawaii’s Poetry Out Loud State Champion!

Maggie Odom recited “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, “Movement Song” by Audre Lord, and “Monet Refuses the Operation” by Lisel Mueller at the state finals on Sunday, February 24. Maggie is a student at Le Jardin Academy, where she also won their 2019 Le Jardin Academy Shakespeare Monologue Competition. The State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA) congratulates Maggie and Le Jardin Academy’s Poetry Out Loud coordinator for this prestigious achievement. The SFCA also thanks the Honolulu Theatre for Youth for their Poetry Out Loud partnership, which supports Hawaii’s participation; Daniel A. Kelin II, Director of Drama Education, Honolulu Theatre for Youth and Justine Haka, Program Manager, Poetry Foundation (Chicago, IL) for their remarks; this year’s judges, Robbie Dingeman, Dr. Terry Liu, Laurel Nakanishi, and Frances Won; and master of ceremonies Ben Gutierrez. Additional thanks to Rebecca Dunning, prompter, and Kat Nelson, accuracy judge.

State Finalists

  • Alexia Fu, McKinley High School
  • Hoʻohieokala Luna-Beamer, Maui High School (3rd place)
  • Kiʻilani Arruda, Island School
  • Ellie Ochiai, Punahou School
  • McKenzie Byron, Parker School
  • Keola Freitas, Homeschool/Maui Hui Malama
  • Maggie Odom, Le Jardin Academy (1st place)
  • Celia Ruff, Kanuikapono Public Charter School
  • Taylor Cozloff, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama (2nd place)
  • Kolten Gusman, Kauaʻi High School
  • Christian Caro, Mid-Pacific Institute
  • Jaimelee Felipe, Kamehameha Schools Maui

Poetry Out Loud National Finals

Maggie will compete in the national finals April 30 – May 1, 2019, in Washington D.C. at the Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University. The national semifinals and finals will be webcast live by Poetry Out Loud.

Hawaiʻi students have placed in the top three nationally three times. Nicholas took third place in 2016, second place in 2017 and 2018, and former Mid-Pacific Institute student Kellie Anae took third place in 2006. Amador, now a student at Harvard University studying astrophysics, says “It’s very important to have ways of expressing your feelings toward things. And art for me, and poetry especially, is a way to do that.” (Read more in this interview by the National Endowment for the Arts: Five Questions on Poetry Out Loud with three-time Hawaii POL Champion Nicholas Amador).

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with U.S. state arts agencies (including Hawaii’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 learn about their literary heritage.

After successful pilot programs in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, Poetry Out Loud was launched in high schools nationwide in the spring of 2006 and has grown to involve millions of students across the country. Poetry Out Loud satisfies more than half of the NCTE English Language Arts Standards. In addition to memorizing and performing great poems, students will have the opportunity to discuss poems and to write poetry of their own. The program guide includes optional lesson plans for the teacher, as well as all other elements the teacher needs to implement the program.

Additional information about Poetry Out Loud is available at www.poetryoutloud.org.