This just in... The Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) announced today that finalists from 13 Indiana schools will compete Saturday, February 27th 2010 for top honors in the Indiana Poetry Out Loud recitation contest. The competition will begin at 12:00 noon at the Indianapolis-Marion County Central Public Library, Clowes Auditorium. Admission is free. Students representing high schools from around Indiana will compete to determine the state champion. The student crowned State Champion will receive a $200 cash prize and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete at the National Finals April 25-28, 2010. The National Championships feature competitors from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. The State Champion's school will receive a $500 stipend to purchase poetry books. Students participating in the 2010 Indiana Poetry Out Loud competition include: Kier Grubbs, Anderson Preparatory Academy, Anderson Jenaya Hooks, Arsenal Technical High School, Indianapolis Durrell Jamerson, Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis Kate-Lyn Edwards, Bloomington New Technology High School, Bloomington Colleen Friedly, Broad Ripple High School, Indianapolis Ashley Martin, Clay High School, South Bend Joshua Westbrook, Columbus Christian High School, Columbus Sierra Savage, Floyd Central High School, Floyds Knobs Sydney Gates, Lawrence North High School, Indianapolis Angelina Jung, Plymouth High School, Plymouth Olivia Byely, Traders Point Christian Academy, Whitestown Elise Lockwood, University High School, Carmel Ben Koshnick, Warsaw Community High School, Warsaw In 2009, Broad Ripple High School Senior Derek C. Kaellner was crowned Indiana's Poetry Out Loud Champion. Indiana is in its fifth year of participation in the Poetry Out Loud program. The National Poetry Out Loud competition began in 2005. The program, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and The Poetry Foundation, is designed to encourage youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance, which helps students master public speaking skills, build self-esteem, and internalize an appreciation for American literary heritage. In 2009, more than 300,000 students participated nationwide in preliminary competitions which begin at the classroom level, advance to regional competitions, and finally state championships. Finalists for the National Championship will compete for scholarship prizes totaling $50,000, with the National Champion claiming $20,000 in scholarship funding and the opportunity to recite at the historic rededication of the Lincoln Memorial. On behalf of the people of Indiana, the Indiana Arts Commission advocates engagement with the arts to enrich the quality of individual and community life.