Two Clark County students and one Pierce County student have advanced from the Southwest Washington regional final to the state final for Poetry Out Loud (POL). 

Top scorers were announced during a live virtual recognition ceremony on Zoom on Wednesday, Feb. 10. 

Presented in partnership with ArtsWA, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, POL is a national program that encourages high school students to learn about poetry — classic and contemporary — through memorization, performance and competition.

Due to COVID-19, this year’s regional final was conducted remotely. Each student recorded and uploaded two poetry recitations to a secure online video platform. Once uploaded, a team of judges reviewed and scored the recitations. 

“This year presented a very unique challenge for our student participants,” Educational Service District 112 communications manager and Poetry Out Loud regional coordinator Nick Shanmac said in a news release. “Without having a live audience to perform for, as has been the case in previous years, students had to figure out how to capture the passion and energy of stirring poetry recitation while at home in front of a camera. Every student involved did an excellent job and should feel quite proud of their work.”

The region's top three scoring students advancing to the state final are Cooper Siems, Concordia Christian Academy (Tacoma), Micah Stewart, Cedar Tree Classical Christian School (Ridgefield) and Bethany Tuchardt, Battle Ground High School.

“In a year full of challenges, Poetry Out Loud provided a bright spot,” ESD 112 Superintendent Tim Merlino said. “The pandemic has robbed us of many opportunities for personal engagement and performance. This poetry competition provided both connection — albeit virtually — and an opportunity for students to demonstrate their talent.”  

You can watch Wednesday night’s recognition ceremony, which includes performances from each of the top three scoring students, online at


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