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Malia Cruz, First-Place Winner (left), and Sarina Temple, Second-Place Winner (right), Surround their Vintage English Teachers, Newton Thomas and Jennifer LaMonte 

February 11, 2020–Arts Council Napa Valley is pleased to announce that two Vintage High School students are the winners of the County-wide contest for Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest.  The first place winner and recipient of a $200 award is Malia Cruz, 12th grade. The second place winner and recipient of a $100 award is Sarina Temple, 12th grade.  

The competition, presented in partnership with Arts Council Napa Valley, California Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. On February 7th, ten high school students from Napa County participated in the Poetry Out Loud County Competition at the Lucky Penny Community Arts Center.  

Cruz, who will now move on to the state competition, dazzled the audience with her dramatic recitation of two poems that speak to the immigrant experience: “The Only Mexican” by David Thomas Martinez and “The Contract Says: We’d Like the Conversation to be Bilingual” by Ada Limón. With her interesting use of pausing and inflection, Temple brought new understanding to Maya Angelou’s “Caged Bird” and “No, I Wasn’t Meant to Love and Be Loved” by Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib. Both students credit their teacher, Jennifer LaMonte and Newton Thomas, along with their ACNV drama coach, Joseph O’Malley, for helping them gain a greater understanding of the poems and the dramatic recitation format.  A complete list of the contestants and the poems recited can be found on the Arts Council Napa Valley Website.

Poetry Out Loud Competitors from five Napa Valley High Schools
Front Row: (left to right) Alisha Cillufo, Sarina Temple, Malia Cruz, Carrie Steil, Cianna Clay, Katherine Tran. Top Row: (left to right) Whitney Powers, Johnathan Morales, Keegan Watson, Olivia Anderson, Host Barry Martin

Poetry Out Loud 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.  Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure. Beginning at the classroom level, winners advance to a countywide competition, then to the state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals in Washington, DC.  

The Napa County winner will advance to the California State contest on March 15-16, 2020 in Sacramento.  Each champion at the state level will receive $200 and an all‐expenses‐paid trip to Washington, DC, to compete for the national championship, April 27‐29, 2020. To learn more about the California Poetry Out Loud contest, visit www.poetryoutloud.org.   

Malia Cruz, Vintage High, Poetry Out Loud Napa County Winner.
Now moving on to State Championship