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Poetry Out Loud state finals contest to broadcast April 24 on MPB Television
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From left: Emma Teng, Taylor Mills, Morgan Love and Malcolm White.

Watch Mississippi’s top student orators compete to master poetry recitation and performance during the state finals of the Poetry Out Loud contest airing April 24 at 9 p.m. on Mississippi Public Broadcasting Television. The competition was taped at MPB Television Studios in February.

An encore broadcast of the competition is set for April 26 at 2 p.m. The Mississippi Arts Commission oversees the recitation competition in high schools statewide.

The 2020 POL winners are: Morgan Love, Mississippi School of the Arts, first place; Taylor Mills, Northwest Rankin High School, second place and Emma Teng, Oxford High School, third place.

“Participating in Poetry Out Loud has allowed me to develop my communications and interpretation skills,” said Morgan Love, first place winner. “I believe my POL experience has a big positive change in my life and helped me develop a person.”

This year, 1,664 students and 119 teachers from 34 high schools in Mississippi participated in Poetry Out Loud. Nine students made it to the state finals.

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

  1. Emmory Bridges, Germantown High School in Madison
  2. Aiden Leise, Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science in Columbus
  3. Morgan Love, Mississippi School of the Arts in Brookhaven
  4. Katlynn McCollum, North Pontotoc High School in Pontotoc
  5. Angelita Micele, Vancleave High School in Vancleave
  6. Taylor Mills, Northwest Rankin High School in Flowood
  7. Dion Ruiz, St. Martin High School in Ocean Springs
  8. Emma Tang, Oxford High School in Oxford
  9. Belle Grace Wilkinson, Jackson Preparatory School in Jackson

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.

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FULL CAPTION: Winners of the Poetry Out Loud state finals competition are: (L-R) Emma Teng, third place; Taylor Mills, second place; Morgan Love, first place and Malcolm White, executive director of Mississippi Arts Commission. Watch the state finals Poetry Out Loud contest on MPB Television April 24 at 9 p.m.