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Poetry Out Loud Winner

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Elk County Council on the Arts names Caitlin Blessel as regional Poetry Out Loud Winner


Elk County Council on the Arts (ECCOTA), through their partnership with The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, is proud to announce the 2021 winner of its regional Poetry Out Loud competition, Caitlin Blessel! Blessel is a tenth grade student from St. Marys Area High School.


Working with her teachers and coaches from SMAHS, Blessel selected “Abandoned Farmhouse” by Ted Kooser, “Thoughtless Cruelty” by Charles Lamb, and “I am the People, the Mob” by Carl Sandburg. Blessel’s poem selection followed contest rules requiring the delivery of three poems with at least one being 25 lines or fewer and one written before the 20th century. Blessel delivered a stunning performance of the poems landing her the distinction as regional champion. On March 8th, Caitlin competed in the virtual state competition against more than 1,000 students for the chance to win $200 and move on to the national competition.


Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. Since 2005, more than 4 million students, 65,000 teachers, and

16,000 schools have participated. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies.


Interested in bringing the Poetry Out Loud program to your community? Contact ECCOTA’s Public Art Program Manager, Jessica Weinzierl, at (814) 772-7051 or jessica@eccota.com.


Caitlin Blessel  is a tenth grade student from St. Marys Area High School.

20-21 POL Winner Caitlin Blessel.jpg

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