Springfield Area Arts Council

Black and White Logo. Poetry is in a speech bubble at the top coming out of a clip art microphone next to the words Out Loud

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation partner with state arts agencies to support Poetry Out Loud, a competition that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through analysis, memorization, and recitation.  The program helps teens master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

The 2023 season marks the 18th anniversary of Poetry Out Loud. Since its inception, the program has grown to reach more than 4.1 million students and 68,000 teachers from 17,000 schools and organizations in every state, American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In Illinois 2022 : 4597 students and 127 teachers from 28 schools participated.

Illinois Poetry Out Loud 2023 from Dave Cain / UMEDIA, Inc.

The Illinois Arts Council Agency works with these regional partners to produce Poetry Out Loud in Illinois:

      • Southern: ArtSpace 304
        Southwestern: Southwestern Illinois College
        Northern: Rockford Area Arts Council
        Eastern: 40 North/88 West
        Chicago and Suburbs: The Poetry Center of Chicago
        Central: Springfield Area Arts Council
        Western: Quad City Arts

For more information, please visit www.poetryoutloud.org or call 217-753-3519, or you may email Central Illinois regional coordinator Sheila Walk at programs@springfieldartsco.org.

2023 Contest Dates:

National Finals – Tuesday, May 9th and Wednesday, May 10th

You can watch the national contest atwww.arts.gov/poetry-out-loud

2023 Illinois State Contest

YOHANNA ENDASHAW posing with her CHAMPION plague
YOHANNA ENDASHAW (Niles West High School) Photo by William Richards
THAD BERGSCHNEIDER (Franklin High School) Photo by William Richards

 YOHANNA ENDASHAW (Niles West High School) and THAD BERGSCHNEIDER (Franklin High School) placed first and second in the 2023  Illinois state Poetry Out Loud contest.

Fourteen other contestants and their schools were part of this year’s poetry recitation contest:

   Sidney Bester (finalist) – Homewood Flossmoor

   Sara Carter – Thomas Jefferson

   Eliza Denham – Eureka

   Vanali Desai – Stephen T. Mather

   Rebecca Drake – Massac County

   Leo Dunahee – Nashville Community

   Brooklynn Haars – Orion

   Veda Kommineni – Edwardsville Community

   Adeleah Reynoso (finalist) – Taft

   Mikira Rogers –Thomas Jefferson

   Kate Roth (finalist) – Champaign Central

   Wade Schacht – Champaign Central

   Alex Walker –Edwardsville Community

   Eleanor Wilbur – Orion

2023 Central Illinois Regional Contest

Bergschneider, Dehnam At central Illinois regional contest - Hoogland Center for the Arts - February 9, 2023 holding their award plaques

Left to right: Bergschneider, Dehnam

Photo by William Richards

Thad Bergschneider, Franklin High School, was winner and Eliza Denham, Eureka High School was runner-up at the Central Illinois Regional Contest.