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Contact: Chris Cate

Secretary Detzner Congratulates 2013 Poetry Out Loud State Champion

State Champion Kourtney Brooker to represent Florida at national finals April 28-30

Tallahassee, Florida –

Secretary of State Ken Detzner today congratulated the winners of Florida’s State Finals of the 2013 Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest. Poetry Out Loud is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation that awards cash prizes to students who memorize and recite poetry.

"Poetry Out Loud inspires a lifelong participation in the arts and encourages students to improve their public speaking skills," said Secretary Detzner, Florida’s Chief Cultural Officer. "I am very proud of Florida’s winners who dedicated hours of practice and preparation to their award winning performances."

First place in Florida’s State Finals was awarded to Kourtney Brooker, a sophomore at Seminole High School in Seminole County. Brooker will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete for more than $50,000 in awards and scholarships at the National Finals on April 28 to 30. In addition, Brooker will receive a $200 cash prize and Seminole High School will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry books.

Second place was awarded to Ricky Vega-Bossa, a sophomore at Western High School in Broward County. Vega-Bossa will receive a $100 cash prize and Western High School will receive $200 for their poetry collection.

Third place was awarded to Christell Roach, a junior at Miami Arts Charter School in Miami-Dade County. Honorable mentions were awarded to Cassia-Che Hinds, a senior at John A. Ferguson High School in Miami-Dade County and Jennifer Carter, a senior from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Duval County.

Judges for the contest included faculty from the English departments at Florida State University, Florida A&M University and Tallahassee Community College. Florida literary publisher Anhinga Press supplied the contestants with a sampling of Florida poetry anthologies to take home and the State Library of Florida also provided multi-media gifts for the participants. Citizens for Florida Arts, Inc. sponsored hospitality and refreshments for the students. Other sponsors included Subway, Habana Boardwalk and Quality Inn & Suites Tallahassee.

Florida’s Poetry Out Loud State Finals, administered by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs, took place March 9 in Tallahassee.

About Poetry Out Loud

The Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest is 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 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 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