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Beechwood freshman Lupita Diaz named Kentucky Art’s Council’s Poetry Out Loud state champion

After three rounds of competition, Beechwood High School freshman Lupita Diaz emerged as the champion in the Kentucky Poetry Out Loud state finals.

Twelve school champions participated in the annual poetry recitation competition, which was held virtually via Facebook Live.

Poetry Out Loud is sponsored by the Kentucky Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation. Each student, in the first and second rounds, was judged on the recitation of two poems. The five top scorers from the first two rounds advanced to the final round where they each recited a third poem. The students, along with their teachers, selected the poems from a preapproved anthology of works.

Lupita Diaz

Diaz’s path to the state title included recitations of “Spanglish” by Tato Laviera and “Diameter” by Michelle Y. Burke in the first and second rounds, respectively. In the third round, she recited “Life in a Love” by Robert Browning.

“I never expected this at all,” Diaz said, surrounded at her computer by cheering Beechwood classmates. “I’m so grateful.”

State runner-up was Charlotte Knapp, a sophomore at Great Crossing High School in Scott County. The other three finalists were Veronique DeMarse, a Greenwood High School senior; Grace Owen, a George Rogers Clark High School freshman; and Kate Shirts, an Elizabethtown High School sophomore.

In addition to participating in the national finals later this year, Diaz will receive $200, and Beechwood High School will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. As runner-up, Knapp will receive $100, and Great Crossing High School will receive a $200 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.

The school champions, listed by name, academic year, school and county are as follows:

• Kirsten Blain, senior, Danville High School, Boyle County
• Joshua Burge, sophomore, Saint Xavier High School, Jefferson County
• Veronique DeMarse, senior, Greenwood High School, Warren County
• Lupita Diaz, freshman, Beechwood High School, Kenton County
• Charlotte Knapp, sophomore, Great Crossing High School, Scott County
• Kelly Manion, sophomore, Allen County-Scottsville High School, Allen County
• Grace Owen, freshman, George Rogers Clark High School, Clark County
• Dusty Rogers, senior, Betsy Layne High School, Floyd County
• Kate Shirts, sophomore, Elizabethtown High School, Hardin County
• Lorelai Underwood, sophomore, Kentucky Country Day School, Jefferson County
• Abbey Ward, junior, Scott County High School, Scott County
• Lexie Wilson, sophomore, Williamstown High School, Grant County

Judges for this year’s state competition were Kentucky-based poets Jude McPherson, Katerina Stoykova, Makalani Bandele and Bernard Clay.

Kentucky Arts Council

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