Portsmouth Abbey School Student wins Poetry Out Loud R.I.

Published on Wednesday, March 20, 2024

East Greenwich, R.I. -- With the recitation of "Say Grace" by Emily Jungmin Yoon, Jennifer Shon, a junior at the Portsmouth Abbey School, won the 19th R.I. Poetry Out Loud State Finals, the Rhode State Council on the Arts announced today.

Jenninfer Shon, 2024 Poetry Out Loud RI winner
Jennifer Shon, a junior at the Portsmouth Abbey School, wins 2024 Poetry Out Loud R.I.

Shon, who is from Seoul, Korea, will represent Rhode Island in the national competition in Washington, D.C., April 30 -May 2.

Classical High School’s Kylie Tiemeyer, Providence, placed second, and Regan Clark, Charlestown, Chariho Regional High School, was third. Honorable mentions went to Zoey Evora, East Providence High School, East Providence, and Jayden Wirawan, Central High School, Providence.

"On behalf of RISCA, congratulations to Jennifer Shon, and we wish her the best of luck in the national competition at the end of April. Also, thank you all the Poetry Out Loud participants for all their hard work and hours of preparation.” said Lynne McCormack, Executive Director of RISCA. “RISCA is proud to be a long-time partner of the NEA as well as the Poetry Foundation's arts education program, which inspires a life-long appreciation of great classic and contemporary poetry."



List of Competitors: School Name Student Name City/Town
Bishop Hendricken High School Zachary Young  Warwick
Central High School

Jaydan Cokorda 

Matthew Winawan, Honorable Mention

Central Falls High School Valeria Rosado Vega  Central Falls
Chariho Regional High School Regan Clark, 3rd place  Charlestown
Classical High School Kylie Tiemeyer, 2nd place  Providence
Cranston High School West Siranoushn Sahakian  Cranston
Johnston High School Sabastiana Lux Hernandez  Johnston
La Salle Academy Claire Fitzgerald  Warwick
Portsmouth Abbey School Jennifer Shon, R.I. Champion  Portsmouth (Seoul, Korea)
Providence Country Day School Mays Miller  Little Compton
St Patrick Academy Karin Asare  Pawtucket
William M. Davies Career & Technical High School Gabriel Vargas  Pawtucket
East Providence High School Zoey Evora, Honorable Mention  East Providence

More than 1,400 students representing 32 schools from around the state, competed in the arts education competition on March 10 at the Greenwich Odeum in East Greenwich. Prior to the championship the competitors spent most of the school year studying poetry through learning, memorization, and performance.

A special thank you to Lauren Miller, NEA Program Manager, Literary Arts and Arts Education Division, who attended the Poetry Out Loud R.I. competition, and Former State Poet Laureate Tina Cane, who gave of her time as guest poet.

Much Appreciation goes to the judges, Jennifer Davis Allison, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley, and Cathren Housley, and to accuracy and tabulation support from Linda D’Ambra, Ellen House, Amy Clarke and Sue Bruce. The Poetry Out Loud staff was Kate Lohman, Patricia Tilly Hawkridge, Damont Combs and Martha Lenihan Lavieri.  Thank you to the Greenwich Odeum, R.I. Center for the Book and Providence Athanaeum.

Background on Poetry Out Loud

Beginning at the classroom level, winners advance to a schoolwide competition, then to the state championships, and ultimately to the national finals in Washington, DC. Since its inception, 3.6 million students from 14,000 high schools nationwide have participated in Poetry Out Loud.

The winner of the Poetry Out Loud Rhode Island finals receives $200, and the winner's school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. The first runner-up will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. The finals will present a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends, with a $20,000 award for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion. 

Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, a partnership with RISCA, NEA, and the Poetry Foundation, is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. For more information, visit poetryoutloud.org.

National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms, and celebrates America's rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit NEA website. www.arts.gov.

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative partnerships, prizes, and programs.