(CINNAMINSON, NJ) -- Lilian Myers, a student from Cinnaminson High School in Cinnaminson, was named State Champion at the 2021 New Jersey Poetry Out Loud (NJ POL) State Finals competition, part of the National Poetry Out Loud recitation program. The state finals judging took place virtually in late February and a compilation video of the event premiered Tuesday, March 16th online.
Lilian will now move on to represent New Jersey at the national finals, also being held virtually, to compete against champions from every state and territory, all vying for the national title and the chance to win prizes including college scholarships.
Serenity Sewell, from Donald M. Payne Sr. School of Technology in Newark, earned the title of State Runner-Up. Following is a list of the ten student finalists: Shreya Sureshkumar, Morris County School of Technology (Denville); Serenity Sewell, Donald M. Payne Sr. School of Technology (Newark); Abigail Schwartz, Ramsey High School; Olivia Ridley, West Orange High School; Lilian Myers, Cinnaminson High School; Najvir Dhinju, Vineland High School; Maggie Crowe, Trinity Hall Preparatory High School (Tinton Falls); Felicity Crippen, The Wilberforce High School (Princeton); Kailan Cass-Adams-Johnson, Mainland Regional High School; and Emily Baylock, Holmdel High School.
POL is a national poetry recitation program through which students learn to perform great works of classical and contemporary poetry. The State Finals is the culmination of a statewide contest that began in the fall and included over 8,000 New Jersey students from 66 high schools across the state. Students competed first at the classroom and school level, and then at the regional level to determine the 10 finalists who would move on to Tuesday's competition.
New Jersey Poetry Out Loud is a project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, in collaboration with Mayo Performing Arts Center, and ArtPride New Jersey Foundation. Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, The Poetry Foundation, and the state arts agencies of the United States.
The program is administered with a host of regional partners including Rutgers Camden Center for the Arts, Appel Farm Arts & Music Center, Count Basie Center for the Arts, South Orange Performing Arts Center, and CavanKerry Press.
The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, created in 1966, is a division of the NJ Department of State. The Council was established to encourage and foster public interest in the arts; enlarge public and private resources devoted to the arts; promote freedom of expression in the arts; and facilitate the inclusion of art in every public building in New Jersey. The Council receives direct appropriations from the State of New Jersey through a dedicated, renewable Hotel/Motel Occupancy fee, as well as competitive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.