South Central Service Cooperative Announces 2019-2020 Poetry Out Loud

    September 20th, 2019

    High school students in Minnesota invited to compete in national poetry recitation contest

    The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation present Poetry Out Loud in partnership with the Minnesota State Arts Board and South Central Service Cooperative. This national arts education program encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills and build self-confidence, while also learning about classic and contemporary poetry.

    Schools are invited to participate in classroom and school wide contests through January, advancing to regionals and a state competition on Feb. 25, 2020. State champions will advance to the national finals on April 28–29, 2020, in Washington, D.C., where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed.

    Isablla Callery from Arcadia Charter School in Northfield was selected as the 2019 Minnesota Poetry Out Loud champion went on to win the 2019 national finals in Washington, D.C. last April. Since the program began in 2005, more than 3.8 million students and 60,000 teachers from 16,000 schools across the country have participated in Poetry Out Loud.

    “The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to partner with the Poetry Foundation and our partners at the state arts agencies to bring the power of poetry to students across the country,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Through Poetry Out Loud students develop self-confidence, while also learning how poetry can be a meaningful way to communicate ideas and perspectives.”

    “Poetry has origins as an oral art, and it is a gift to witness this generation of young people return to those roots with such incredible energy,” said Poetry Foundation President Henry Bienen. “We are excited to celebrate 15 years of Poetry Out Loud with this year’s competitors, all of whom are carrying the time-honored tradition of poetry recitation forward with vitality and grace.”

    “SCSC is proud to be the host of the 2020 competition,” said Mary Hillmann, program coordinator for Minnesota Poetry Out Loud. “It is an honor to help students pursue their passions and we look forward to serving them through this program.”

    As part of Poetry Out Loud, the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation provide free, standards-based curriculum materials which teachers may use in their classrooms, including an online poetry anthology containing more than 1,100 classic and contemporary poems, a teacher’s guide, lesson plans, posters, and video and audio on the art of recitation. Schools are welcome to download these resources at

    How to get involved in Poetry Out Loud

    High schools that wish to be part of the official Poetry Out Loud program must contact SCSC by Jan. 10, 2020 to participate. SCSC will work with interested schools to include them in the official Poetry Out Loud program. Visit for more information.

    Poetry Out Loud awards

    Each state champion will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete for the national championship. The state champion’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. The first runner-up in each state will receive $100, with $200 for their school library. Poetry Out Loud will award a total of $50,000 in cash and school stipends at the national finals, including a $20,000 award for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion. The Poetry Foundation provides and administers all aspects of the monetary prizes awarded and travel arrangements to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals.

    For further information on Poetry Out Loud, visit or

    Based in North Mankato, Minnesota, South Central Service Cooperative programs and services are member driven to utilize resources in the most efficient and effective manner possible. SCSC is one of nine regional agencies called service cooperatives, established in 1976 by Minnesota legislation (M.S. 123A.21).