2007 Poetry Out Loud - Two years ago the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation began a poetry competition for high school students to be run in every state by the State Arts Councils. South Dakota invited the AA schools to participate on a trial basis the first year. Kayla Jackmon from Sioux Falls Washington was the first state winner and was a finalist at the national contest in Washington DC. Last year every high school in South Dakota was invited to participate in the contest. Schools submitted tapes of their local winners and a panel of judges chose 9 to participate in the state contest. The nine schools represented at the state contest were Brookings High School, Freeman Academy, Howard High School, Milbank High School, Redfield High School, Sioux Falls Lincoln High School, Sioux Falls Washington High School, Sisseton High School and Watertown High School. The state championship was held in Pierre in March of 2007. Jannell Nickell from Sioux Falls Lincoln was designated as the winner. She was awarded $200 for placing 1st in the state contest and received an all-expense paid trip to Washington DC (with a chaperone) at the end of April. Her school received a $500 award to purchase poetry books. National finalists receive from $1000 to $20,000.

Janessa Nickell image

Janessa Nickell a student at Sioux Falls Lincoln (center) won the first place honor during the second annual South Dakota Poetry Out Loud contest held in Pierre. Elizabeth Stigler (left) is a Representative from the Poetry Foundation. Rosella Blunk (right) is the Poetry Out Loud State Coordinator.

07 participants
2007 POL Participants

During the 2007-2008 school year every high school in South Dakota will again be invited to enter the contest. Schools are encouraged to have students participate in reciting poetry on the local level. One representative from each school can be chosen to enter the state contest. That will be done by submitting a recording which will be evaluated by a panel of judges in February who will choose the finalists for the state contest to be held in March. Poetry books, a DVD of national winners, CDs, posters and a teacher’s guide are all free to schools.

Poetry Out Loud Presentation by Rosella Blunk

Poetry Out Loud Site

South Dakota Arts Council

National Endowment for the Arts

Photo Album 

Contact the state coordinator Rosella Blunk ( if you would like to participate or learn more about this contest.

SD Poetry Out Loud Archives
2006 Poetry Out Loud

2007 Poetry Out Loud

2008 Poetry Out Loud

2009 Poetry Out Loud

2010 Poetry Out Loud

2011 Poetry Out Loud

2012 Poetry Out Loud