Seeley Stephens, a junior at TMI – The Episcopal School of Texas, was named one of five finalists at the Texas state finals of the Poetry Out Loud competition, hosted by the Texas Commission on the Arts on Feb. 23 in the auditorium of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.
Winners from Texas high schools met for the state contest, for which they recited poetry from memory. Stephens was first-place winner at TMI’s Nov. 25 Poetry Out Loud contest, qualifying her to representing her school at state. She recited “To the Ladies,” by Mary Chudleigh; “Black Boys Play the Classics,” by Toi Derricotte; and “Albatross” by Kate Bass.
With four other students, Stephens was chosen to advance to the final round of the state competition.
Maria Zuniga of Coppell High School was named state champion, and Brianna Herrera of the Henry Ford Academy: Alameda School for Art + Design in San Antonio was designated runner-up. Zuniga will represent the state in the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, to be held April 28-30, 2013, in Washington D.C.
Poetry Out Loud is a program that encourages high-school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition. Founded in 2005 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, the program has competitions in high schools across the country, with some 365,000 students participating last year.