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Contact: Chris Cate

Secretary Detzner Congratulates 2012 Poetry Out Loud State Champion

Katie McTigue wins Florida Poetry Out Loud State Championship

Tallahassee, Florida –

Secretary of State Ken Detzner today applauded Florida’s state finalists in the 2012 Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest. A program of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud awards more than $100,000 in cash prizes to students who memorize and recite poetry. The Poetry Out Loud State Finals, administered by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs, took place last month in Tallahassee.

“Poetry Out Loud is a program that inspires lifelong participation in the arts,” said Secretary Detzner, Florida’s Chief Cultural Officer. “The participants represent just a fraction of the students affected by this valuable program throughout the state. It is an honor every year to see the results of their hours of practice and preparation.”

First place in the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest was awarded to Katie McTigue, a junior at SAIL High School in Tallahassee (Leon County). McTigue will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete for more than $50,000 in awards and schools stipends. The National Finals will be held May 13 to 15. In addition, McTigue will receive a $200 cash prize, and SAIL High School will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry books for its media center.

Second place was awarded to Jessica Tanner, a junior at North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek (Broward County). Tanner will receive a $100 cash prize and North Broward Preparatory School will receive $200 for their media center’s poetry collection.

Third place was awarded to Tovonnia Lewis, a senior at Howard W. Blake High School of the Arts in Tampa (Hillsborough County). Honorable mentions were awarded to Elizabeth Mputu, a senior at Winter Park High School in Winter Park (Orange County) and Mireya Torres, a senior at Wekiva High School in Apopka (Orange County).

Judges for the contest included faculty from The Florida State University English Department. Florida literary publishers Anhinga Press and Apalachee Review supplied the contestants with a sampling of Florida poetry anthologies to take home. The State Library of Florida also provided multi-media gifts for the participants. Citizens for Florida Arts, Inc. sponsored hospitality and refreshments for the judges and students.

About Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest

The Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest is funded by a program of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition. Poetry Out Loud seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry—recitation and performance. Through Poetry Out Loud, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. For further information regarding Poetry Out Loud, visit

About the Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs

The Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs is Florida’s legislatively designated state arts agency. The division promotes the arts and culture as essential to the quality of life for all Floridians. To achieve its mission, the division funds and supports cultural programs that provide artistic excellence, diversity, education, access and economic vitality for Florida’s communities. For more information about the division and its programs, visit