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Arizona PBS to air 2016 Arizona Poetry Out Loud competition in April

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Arizona PBS will air the 2016 Arizona Poetry Out Loud competition, in which high school students from across the state compete in a national poetry recitation contest.

Highlights from the competition will air in a half-hour special Friday, April 15, at 9 p.m. on Arizona PBS HD.

Arizona PBS to air 2016 Arizona Poetry Out Loud competition in April azhp1-300x200The Poetry Out Loud competition, which was hosted by Arizona PBS in March, incorporates the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word and theater into the English class, encouraging young people to experience poetry by studying, memorizing and performing some of the most influential and timeless poems of the English language. The purpose of the competition is to encourage young adults to build their self-confidence, enhance their public speaking skills and enrich their appreciation for the English language.

“We are thrilled to be a partner in hosting and broadcasting the 2016 Arizona Poetry Out Loud competition,” said Arizona PBS producer Suzanne Guery. “This competition emphasizes many of the values our organization is dedicated to supporting, such as academic advancement, literacy and personal pride. All of the finalists made great achievements to reach this point, and we’re pleased to take part in celebrating those successes.”

The broadcast of Arizona Poetry Out Loud 2016 is an Arizona PBS original production made possible by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona.

“These students work hard to get to the finals, and the passion and spirit they bring to their recitations is infectious,” said Steve Wilcox, communications and research director for Arizona Commission on the Arts. “The Arizona Commission on the Arts is grateful to Arizona PBS for broadcasting this very special event, providing an opportunity for more Arizonans to experience Poetry Out Loud and celebrate the work of these exceptional young people.”

The winner of the competition will represent Arizona in the regional Poetry Out Loud semifinals for the upper northwest and western regions of the country. The winners of the semifinals will advance to the national finals competition in Washington, D.C., in May.

The 2016 Arizona Poetry Out Loudfinalists are:

Central finalists:
Edel Healy (Xavier College Preparatory, Phoenix)
Karina Morris (AAEC-PV High School, Paradise Valley)
Anisa Myers (American Leadership Academy, Queen Creek)
Hunter Hazelton (Betty Fairfax High School, Laveen)

Northern finalists:
Sophie Weinzinger (Coconino High School, Flagstaff)
Hannah Heiden (Kingman High School, Kingman)
Carly Smith (Coconino High School, Flagstaff)

Southern finalists:
Caitlin McCormick (The Gregory School, Tucson)
Edgardo Flores (Villa Oasis, Eloy)
Deja Brown (Sonoran Science Academy, Tucson)

Following the broadcast the program will be available for viewing online at, along with exclusive web-only interviews with some of the competitors and additional information about the competition.