The words of great poets come to life on stage across the state as more than 3,100 high school-aged students compete to represent their county at the 10th annual Nevada Poetry Out Loud State Finals at the Siena Hotel in Reno on March 14 from noon-3 p.m.

Poetry Out Loud begins at the local level as students learn about, memorize, and finally present poetry “out loud” to an audience. Participants advance from school to district competitions and then to the Nevada State Finals, where the stakes are high. Nevada’s state champion earns $1,000, plus another $1,000 for his or her school to support literary programs and a trip to Washington, D.C., to compete for the national title and a chance to share $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends. Students placing second and third at the Nevada State Finals receive $500 each and $500 for their schools. In 2014, State Champion Christian Schunke of Lyon County represented Nevada at the national finals.

Nevada, one of the first states to offer this national initiative on a statewide basis, has seen exponential growth in participation since the first competition in 2005, when 200 students, coaches, teachers and parents were involved from 10 counties. Now in its 10th year, more than 3,100 students, 53 teachers, 34 schools from 14 of Nevada’s 17 counties in Nevada are joining in.


“Poetry Out Loud has grown into a treasured arts education program in Nevada and a flagship program for the Nevada Arts Council,” asserts Arts Learning and Poetry Out Loud Coordinator for the Nevada Arts Council Maryjane Dorofachuk. “All Poetry Out Loud events are free and we encourage the public to experience poetry in a remarkably electric setting.”

Organizations across Nevada are hosting events and workshops to celebrate the program’s 10th Anniversary, such as the Spoken Views Youth Poetry Slam in Reno, plus “Humanity Thru Art” and ”Pop Up Poetry” in Las Vegas.

Teachers are provided with free multimedia curriculum materials–all aligned to national standards–and augment their regular poetry curriculum with poetry recitation and a school-level competition.

A program of the Nevada Arts Council, Poetry Out Loud is co-sponsored by the Nevada Department of Education and Sierra Arts, and is made possible through funding and leadership of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. 2015 Nevada Poetry Out Loud receives generous support from NV Energy Foundation.

For more information on Nevada Poetry Out Loud, check out, on Twitter at #nvoutloud, visit, and call 702-486-3738, or 77-687-  6680.