POETRY OUT LOUD 2020 Championship Winners

by Placerville Newswire / Feb 13, 2020 / comments

[Arts and Culture El Dorado, Image - From Left to Right: Paula Rabell, Naomi Smith, Shavonne Kelley, Jordan Freer, Kaden Steward]

On February 6, 2020, the El Dorado County Poetry Out Loud championships were held at Imagination Theater. The tension was palpable and the excitement absorbing as five local high school students took the stage to compete for the privilege of advancing to the state Poetry Out Loud Finals in Sacramento.

Taking home third place honors was 2019 El Dorado County Poetry Out Loud Champion, Oak Ridge High School’s Paula Rabell. Winning the second place trophy and the rank of runner-up at the State Finals was Naomi Smith from Ponderosa High School. The 2020 El Dorado County Poetry Out Loud Champion was revealed to be Jordan Freer representing El Dorado High School, who delivered powerful and animated recitations of “How to Triumph Like a Girl” by Ada Limon and “America, I Sing You Back” by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke.

To read more about the 2020 El Dorado County Poetry Out Loud championship, visit 2020 El Dorado County Poetry Out Loud.

The evening began with a welcome and introduction of the VIP panel of local celebrity judges. These included Laura Bonham, Board of Directors and Treasurer at Imagination Theater;  Darin Coelho, Manager of The Bookery on Main Street in Placerville; Jody Franklin, Executive Director of Tourism at El Dorado County Visitor’s Authority;  Taylor Graham, Poet and El Dorado County Poet Laureate Emerita; Chris Knopp, Artist and Board member at Arts and Culture El Dorado;  Cleve Morris, City Manager of the City of Placerville;  Suzanne Roberts, El Dorado County Poet Laureate; and Tiffany Van Camp, Co-Founder of See The Elephant, all of whom were trained and prepared for the challenge of assessing these remarkable students. Each of these judges took time from their otherwise busy schedules to learn the evaluation criteria c the Poetry Foundation and includes accuracy, physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, and evidence of understanding. It is often the case, as it was on this evening, that the difference between final scores are very close, with a point in a single category skewing the results  in favor of one competitor over another.


2020 Poetry Out Loud Photography by Shelly Thorene