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Poetry Out Loud State Champion

Kulkarni will compete in national semifinals on Sunday, May 1

MONTGOMERY, Ala., (April 28,
2022) — Alabama State Council on the Arts and the
Alabama Arts Alliance announce that Abigail Kulkarni, a student at James
Clemens High School, is the 2022 Alabama Poetry Out Loud™ champion.

Thousands of high school educators integrate Poetry
Out Loud into their curriculum every year. The competition, presented in
partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation,
is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn
about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. Since
the program began in 2005, more than 4.1 million students and 68,000 teachers
from 17,000 schools across the country have participated in Poetry Out Loud.

In February, Alabama State Council on the Arts and
Alabama Arts Alliance hosted a virtual ceremony celebrating students
from high schools all over the state who placed regionally in the
National Poetry Out Loud Competition, Alabama’s Original Poetry Competition, and
the Original Social Issues Poem Competition.

Guest judges included Dr. Jacqueline Trimble,
Richard Trammell, and Randy Foster. Anne Kimzey served as accuracy judge.
Additionally, Davis Thompson of Auburn High School was recognized as the
inaugural recipient of the Alabama Poetry Out Loud “Teacher of the Year” award.

“Poetry Out Loud is a wonderful example of a partnership
between federal, state, and local arts organizations that engages students
across Alabama,” said Dr. Elliot Knight, executive director of Alabama State
Council on the Arts. “We are thankful for the support and leadership of the
National Endowment for the Arts and are proud of all our Alabama students who
made it to the state finals and participated this year.”

National Poetry Out Loud Competition

First place in Alabama’s Poetry Out Loud National Anthology Competition
went to Abigail Kulkarni. Abigail is a student at James Clemens High
School (Teacher, Elizabeth Miller) and will compete with 54 other
state/jurisdictional champions in the Poetry Out Loud national semifinals
through a video competition streamed at on
Sunday, May 1, 2022, at 2 pm CT. From those semifinals, nine students will
advance to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, broadcast on Sunday, June 5,
2022, at 6 pm CT.

Kennedy Gore, a student at Bob Jones High School, was first
runner-up, and Elizabeth McClure, a student at Alabama School of Fine Arts, was
named second runner-up. Honorable mentions were awarded to Audrey Miller
(Lakeview Christian School), Samuel Schultz (independent student), and Victoria
Wang (Auburn High School).

Alabama Original Poetry Competitions

Alabama is one of the few states that includes an original
poetry competition within its state poetry finals. Atticus Hill, a student at
Alabama School of Fine Arts (Teacher, Ashley M. Jones), was selected as the
original poetry winner. Second place went to Lydia Maple of Lakeview Christian
School. An honorable mention in original poetry was awarded to Piper Doyle of
Auburn High School.

Also, as part of the original poetry competition, students were
encouraged to write and recite an original poem addressing any topic relevant
to their life. Lydia Maple, a student at Lakeview Christian School, and Shemai’ya
who competed as an independent student, were both awarded first place.
Lucy Gardner of Indian Springs School was awarded second place.

“The participants in this year’s Poetry Out Loud represent
the best of Alabama’s students, reflecting on and understanding the work of
classic poets and creating their own poetry in response to the contemporary
world,” said Dr. Andrew Henley, the Council’s deputy director.

For additional information about this program, please
contact Kaci Norman, Arts in Education program manager for Alabama State
Council on the Arts, at 334-242-5148 or; or
Donna Russell, executive director of the Alabama Arts Alliance at 334-269-1435 or


About Alabama State Council on the Arts

The Council on the Arts is the official state
agency for the support and development of the arts in Alabama. The Council
works to expand and preserve the state’s cultural resources by supporting
nonprofit arts organizations, schools, colleges, units of local government, and
individual artists. Arts programs, assisted by Council grants, have a track
record of enhancing community development, education, cultural tourism, and
overall quality of life in all regions of the state.
Alabama State Council on the Arts grants are
made possible by an annual appropriation from the Alabama Legislature and
additional funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Learn
more at


About Poetry Out Loud™

A partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry
Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies, Poetry Out Loud is
a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by
offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to
high schools across the country.


Perri Hubbard

Communications & Public Relations

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