Moses Brown School student Simon Rabatin is this year's Rhode Island winner of the Poetry Out Loud state championship, held Sunday, March 5 at the RISD Museum, sponsored locally by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, VSA arts Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Teaching Artists Center at the Gamm Theatre. As Rhode Island state winner, Rabatin will go on to compete at the national finals in Washington, DC in April.
Poetry Out Loud is a program sponsored nationally by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and The Poetry Foundation in Chicago. 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.
Over 2,700 students participated in the program and 15 schools sent contestants to the Rhode Island finals this year. The following schools participated in the state finals: Johnston High School; Block Island School on Block Island; St. Patrick Academy in Providence; Central Falls High School in Central Falls; Classical High School, Central High School, Moses Brown School and Paul Cuffee School in Providence; Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick; North Kingstown High School; School One in Providence; Scituate High School; Portsmouth Abbey School in Portsmouth; Barrington Christian Academy; and Chariho Regional High School in Wood River Junction.
In addition to Simon Rabatin, the following students received awards at Sunday afternoon's competition: the second place finalist is Latifat Odetunde from Classical High School in Providence. Placing third was Ian Wright from Barrington Christian Academy in Barrington, and Honorable Mention went to Kaela Bergeron from Scituate High School and Wendricka Griffith from the Paul Cuffee School in Providence.
First place winner Simon Rabatin from Providence will receive a $200 prize check and an all-expense-paid trip to compete at the National Finals on April 24th to April 26th in Washington, DC. Moses Brown School will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The second prize winner, Latifat Odetunde from Classical High School in Providence, will receive a $100 prize check, and her school will receive $200 for the purchase of poetry books.
Tina Cane, State Poet of Rhode Island, was this year's Guest Poet. Judges this year included Jennifer Davis-Allison, Vatic Kuumba and Susie Schutt.
About the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is a state agency, supported by appropriations from the Rhode Island General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. RISCA provides grants, technical assistance and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders. For more information on RISCA and its programs, please visit www.arts.ri.gov.
About VSA arts Rhode Island VSA arts Rhode Island is a non-profit arts and education organization dedicated to enriching the lives of people with disabilities through active participation in the arts. Since 1986 VSA arts RI has provided high quality visual, literary and performing arts programs through which children and adults with disabilities of all ethnic, racial and economic levels enter the mainstream of the cultural community. VSA arts RI is the only agency in RI which exists solely for the purpose of providing opportunities in the arts by, with and for individuals with disabilities and serves over 20,000 Rhode Islanders each year.
About the Rhode Island Teaching Artists Center The Rhode Island Teaching Artists Center provides a physical and virtual place for Rhode Island-based teaching artists to access resources and idea sharing, serves as a bridge between teaching artists and those in need of teaching artists, and builds the field of the teaching artist profession.
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. For more information, please visit www.poetryfoundation.org.