2018 Poetry Out Loud state finals contest to broadcast April 16 on MPB Television
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2018 Poetry Out Loud top three winners

JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi’s best young orators showcased their talents during the 2018 Poetry Out Loud finals held March 6 at the Mississippi Public Broadcasting Auditorium. The event will broadcast on MPB Television at 9 p.m. April 16.

Encore presentations are set for 1 a.m. April 22 and 2 p.m. April 29.

This year, 3,322 students and 153 teachers from 39 high schools in Mississippi participated in Poetry Out Loud.  Nine students made it to the state finals.

The 2018 winners are: Anna Claire Franklin, Oxford High School, first place; Taylor Mills, Northwest Rankin High School, second place; and Desiree Roby, Christian Home Educators Connection, third place.

Anna Claire will compete at the national finals April 23-25, at the Lisner Auditorium of The George Washington University.

“I am (clearly) stunned to have been chosen to represent the state of Mississippi at the National Poetry Out Loud competition this April! See y’all in DC,” Anna wrote on her Instagram post.

The nine finalists who appear in MPB’s Poetry Out Loud broadcast are:

  1. Olivia A. Bonds, a junior at Murrah High School in Jackson
  2. Anna Claire Franklin, a junior at Oxford High School in Oxford
  3. Sarah Heard, a senior at Starkville High School in Starkville
  4. D'Angelo Jefferson, a senior at Pascagoula High School in Pascagoula
  5. Luna Landry, a senior at D’Iberville High School in D’Iberville
  6. Angelita Micele, a sophomore at Vancleave High School in Vancleave
  7. Taylor Mills, a sophomore at Northwest Rankin High School in Flowood
  8. Desiree Roby of Clinton, a sophomore at Christian Home Educators
  9. Juan Quinonez-Zepeda, a senior at Independence High School in Coldwater


Poetry Out Loud was created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry
Foundation for students in grades 9-12. Since 2005, it has helped students in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and improve reading comprehension.

Through the Poetry Out Loud curriculum, teachers guide students to a better understanding of the power of language and literature by helping them develop a personal relationship with great poems. Poetry Out Loud offers all students the opportunity to compete for awards, prizes and recognition.

Photo caption: Malcolm White, Mississippi Arts Commission executive director, presents the 2018 Poetry Out Loud top three winners. They are (from left) Desiree Roby, third place; Taylor Mills, second place; and Anna Claire Franklin, first place and state champion. Photo credit: MPB