ArtsPath Announces 2016 Poetry Out Loud Regional Winner

Posted on 2/23/2016 4:43:45 PM

POL 2016 WinnerIndiana Area High School junior Lillian Rauss was named winner of the ArtsPath regional competition for the 2016 Poetry Out Loud competition held at IUP on Monday, February 15, 2016. Rauss competed against four other finalists and now advances to represent the ArtsPath region at the state competition in Harrisburg on March 7.

Lillian will be one of 14 Pennsylvania regional champions who will compete for a chance to advance to the national finals held in May in Washington, D.C. The others competing in this regional competition, chosen from dozens of competitors from each school, include runner-up Greyson Knepp, a sophomore at Clarion-Limestone Area High School; Ben Gardner, a junior at the Kiski School; Claire Henderson, a freshman at Marion Center Area HS; and Mackenzie Lines, a sophomore at DuBois Area High School.

Rauss won reciting “Discrimination” by Kenneth Rexroth, “For the young who want to” by Marge Piercy, and “Solitude” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. The Indiana Area High School competition was coordinated by English teacher Natalie Mears.

At Indiana, Rauss is a high honors student where her academic interests include German, history, creative writing, and English. She especially enjoys learning history and English, and is currently enrolled in AP European History and AP English Language and Composition. Lillian has been a student of German since eighth grade and in April of last year traveled to four European countries. Later in life, she plans on becoming a history teacher and a published author.

Judges for the ArtsPath regional final included associate professors of English at IUP Laurel Johnson Black, Ken Sherwood, Todd Thompson, and Michael T. Williamson; assistant professor of English at IUP Daniel Weinstein; and Kimberly Young, a reference librarian at the Indiana Free Library. The prompter for the competition was Mary Reading, a PhD  student of Literature and Criticism at IUP. Music for the evening was provided by IUP music student Alex Price on acoustic guitar.

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 Rauss), 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.