Panhandle students to compete in Poetry Out Loud's finals in West Virginia Education

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Rita Dove, Billy Collins, Sara Teasdale, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Carmen Gimenez Smith, Kevin Young, and many more in the 2019 Poetry Out Loud, Fifty-One's leading leadership competition set out for March 1 and 2 at the Culture Center in Charleston.

These include these Eastern Panhandle students:

  • Kayley Brinegar, Berkeley Springs High School
  • Billy Bowers, High School na Paw
  • Makenzie Hite, High School Spring Mills

The winner will represent West Virginia at the national Poetry Out Loud competition 30 April and May 1 in Washington, D.C.

The storyteller and billing artist Bil Lepp will be the master of the ceremonial master of the state competition. He is a five-time play at the West Virginia Liars Competition and winner of the Vandalia Award of 2018. His work received recognition from the Parents' Choice Foundation, the National Association for Parenting Publications and Public Library Association. In 2011, he was awarded the National Storytelling Network's Excellence Circle Award. Lepp is the author of seven books and 16 audio collections.

The $ 200 state champion receives an all-cost tour paid for the national finals. $ 500 gets to buy books and poetry topics. The second time gets $ 100, and the school receives $ 200 books and poetry subjects.

The participating students receive original works created by West Virginia artists. The winner and the second will also get custom trophies.

For more information, contact Jim Wolfe, arts co-ordinator in education, at 304-558-0240 or email


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