ArtsPath Announces 2018 Poetry Out Loud Regional Champion

Posted on 1/31/2018 10:49:19 AM
Poetry Out Loud 2018 regional competition winner Amy Kukula

Blairsville High School junior Amy Kukula was named winner of the ArtsPath regional competition for the 2018 Poetry Out Loud competition held at IUP on Monday, January 29, 2018. Kukula competed against five other school finalists and now advances to represent the ArtsPath region at the state competition in Harrisburg on March 5.

Amy will be one of 15 Pennsylvania regional champions who will compete for a chance to represent Pennsylvania at the national finals held in May in Washington, D.C. The others competing in this regional competition (pictured below), chosen from dozens of competitors from each school, include runner-up Jacquelyn Spicher, a junior at DuBois Area High School; Edgard Mercado, a junior at the Kiski School; Rachel Wilkins, a sophomore at Marion Center Area High School; Dylan McAnulty, a junior at Indiana Area High School; and Emily Marshall, a freshman at Homer-Center High School.

Pennsylvania regional competitors for Poetry Out Loud 2018Amy won reciting Please Don’t by Tony Hoagland, Friendship After Love by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, and Today by Billy Collins. The Blairsville High School competition was coordinated by teachers Trish Dodson and Andrea Delfavero.

At Blairsville High, Amy participates in theater and musical productions and plays the flute and piccolo in band. She also dances at the Sue Hewitt Dance Studio, with focuses in ballet, pointe, and modern. During the summer, she attends the Footlight Players Summer Youth Theater Camp at IUP.

Judges for the ArtsPath regional final included the Scholarly Communication/Digital Initiatives librarian at IUP, Sara Parme; associate professor of English at IUP, Daniel Weinstein; professor of English at IUP, Michael T. Williamson; associate professor of Theater History, Michael Schwartz; PhD candidate at IUP, Mary Reading; and the executive director for the Indiana Arts Council, Karen Salser. The prompter for the competition was Zainab Younus, a PhD  candidate in the Literature and Criticism program at IUP. Music for the evening was provided by IUP music student Hayden Kramer on piano.

Presented by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about significant works of poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. Pennsylvania’s contest structure is presented each year by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and organized through a network of arts-in-education partners across the state, including ArtsPath. 

The local competition is organized by ArtsPath, a program of the College of Fine Arts and the Lively Arts at IUP, providing arts-in-education services to students in Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana, and Jefferson counties. It has provided these services to over 3,000 people each year since 2001. ArtsPath is led by Jeff Wacker (pictured above with Kukula), coordinator of Arts-in-Education services for the Lively Arts.

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts is a state agency under the Governor’s Office. Its mission is to foster the excellence, diversity, and vitality of the arts in Pennsylvania and to broaden the availability and appreciation of those arts throughout the state.