(Washington, DC) The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is proud to announce Amanda Fernandez as the National winner of Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest. A senior at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Amanda competed against students from all 50 states to win first place and a scholarship of $20,000. The competition, presented in partnership with The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.
Ms. Fernandez won her Poetry Out Loud school-wide competition at Ellington, advanced to the DC Citywide Finals, and moved on to the National Competition, held at Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University.
"This has been the most nerve-wracking, intense, exciting and rewarding experience of my life," said Fernandez. She credits her English teacher, who organized a Poetry Out Loud contest for her class and encouraged her with his passion for poetry. Fernandez advanced to National Champion from a field of competition that involved more than 1,000 high schools and more than 100,000 high school students across the country.
Ms. Fernandez will attend New York University's Tisch School of the Arts this coming fall where she will study acting. Her friends, family, and Duke Ellington teachers, Charles Feeser and Sarah Doherty joined her at the event.
For more information about the Poetry Out Loud program in the District of Columbia, email Mary Liniger, call (202) 724-5613, call TDD (202) 724-3418 or visit http://www.poetryoutloud.org/.
Photo by James Kegley. Poetry Foundation President John Barr, 2007 Poetry Out Loud National Champion Amanda Fernandez, and NEA Chairman Dana Gioia.