Last Tuesday night, Februray 2nd, 2016, about 150 people gathered at the Sonora High Auditorium for the 8th Tuolumne County Poetry Out Loud Finals. What a night of beautiful poetry recitations! Yes, it is a competition, but one that ends with a deep love of classic and contemporary poetry; one that gives power and voice to our youth, and helps each students find his/her voice!
This year Min Ker-Schifrin (Connections Academy Junior) will head to Sacramento for the California State Poetry Out Loud Finals. And who knows? Maybe she’ll be flying to Washington, DC, to represent California at the National Poetry Out Loud Finals. It happened to us last year when Sonora High’s Levi Lowe took top honors for California and its 40,000 POL contestants!
I had the honor of being Tuolumne County’s FIRST Poetry Out Loud coordinator. From 2007 to 2013 I steered the program and worked with poetry coach Rick Foster. We watched POL grow from 60 kids to over 500 local high school students being involved! Now POL is in the very capable hands of Bonnie Bryson, educator and actor. And Rick is still the most dedicated and masterful coach imaginable!
Peggy and I are doing our part to help FUN Poetry Out Loud. We’re having a fund raiser with our CD sales. If you buy a CD at our website between now and April 30th, we will send a 20% donation to Tuolumne County Arts Alliance for our local POL. Each year it costs about $7,000 to run this program, so this is just one small way to make that work. We hope that you’ll purchase some of our Spoken Word so that we can support another Spoken Word project in our community!