It was an incredible experience last night to watch the finalists of Poetry out Loud juxtaposed with Presidential Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco.
Richard began proceedings with his poetry and brought the crowd to their feet after delivering his poem, "One Today." He left the stage to loud applause, but not before providing guidance to the competing students.
The students took to the stage inside a Gracie Theatre full of audience members, who in turn were surrounding by a plethora of cameras and TV newscasters anxious for interviews. None of the media hype phased the students who went on to compete at a level that has become a trademark of the Poetry Out Loud program in Maine.
With a mixture of emotions, the event had to produce winners and losers, and Richard Blanco was once again called to the stage in order to present prizes. He soon announced Dyer Rhoads of Waynflete School as the 2013 State Poetry Out Loud Champion, but not before presenting all the finalists with a signed copy of his inaugural poem. He then announced Iman Omar, from Deering High School, as the State Runner-up. Both students will receive cash awards and their schools will receive prize money to purchase poetry books for their libraries.
We would like to thank so many people. Of course all of the students, their families, teachers and well-wishers; Richard Blanco, Suzanne Nance, and the staff of the Gracie Theatre. We also thank the wonderful judges who had the hardest task of the evening of keeping score. They were Jud Caswell, Dr. Ellen M. Taylor,Jen Blood and Joshua Bodwell.