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News Release
Amy Jarvie
Amy Jarvie
Sarah Calvin-Stupfel of Salem named Oregon's Poetry Out Loud champion (Photo) - 03/13/18

Salem, Oregon -- Sarah Calvin-Stupfel, a senior at West Salem High School, is the 2018 Oregon Poetry Out Loud state champion. Calvin-Stupfel was one of eight regional finalists who competed at Saturday's state Poetry Out Loud contest at Salem Public Library. She advances to the national Poetry Out Loud competition, scheduled for April 23-25 in Washington, D.C.

Amy Jarvie, a 16-year-old sophomore at Oregon School for the Deaf, was named runner up. If Calvin-Stupfel is unable to attend the national competition Jarvie would be invited to represent Oregon.

"My sophomore year, my English teacher required us to memorize and recite a poem for the class," said Calvin-Stupfel. "I chose 'Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg,' and I've had it memorized since then. I've grown so close to the poem, and Poetry Out Loud has given me the chance to learn and grow with multiple others. Poetry has given me new eyes through which I now see the world. It has given me the tools to show people who I am and what I believe," she added. "Discovering the Poetry Out Loud community has truly changed me, and I am so grateful to be representing Oregon in April."

Calvin-Stupfel, 18, plans to attend Pacific Lutheran University in Parkland, Washington, to major in politics and government with a minor in Spanish and history. At West Salem she is a member of the top orchestra, the mock trial team, the youth and government program, and the National Honor Society. Her final recitation was of "Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg," her favorite poem, written by Richard Hugo.

"Sarah delivered three exemplary performances at the final," said Ian C. Jones, one of five state contest judges and the 2007 Poetry Out Loud Oregon state champion. "The interpretations she brought to her selected poems were engaging, evocative and a joy to see performed."

"It's easy for the audience to see her emotional connection to her chosen poems, and her high-energy recitations create an atmosphere of excited contemplation, making us ask, 'What's going to happen next? And what will it mean?" added Jillian Frakes, also a judge and the 2012 Oregon Poetry Out Loud state champion.

The other six students who competed, after advancing in regional contests, are: Bonnie Drennen, South Umpqua High School, Myrtle Creek; Jessica Harris, Veritas High School, Newberg; Landon Moir, Cascade Christian High School, Medford; Katarina Pejcinovic, West Linn High School; Hannah VonHolle, Logos Public Charter School, Medford; and Luke Williams, St. Stephen's Academy, Beaverton.

"In a field of excellent presenters, Sarah's energy and confidence helped her emerge as the state winner," said Deb Vaughn, Arts Commission arts education/Poetry Out Loud coordinator. "We are proud to have her represent Oregon at the national competition."

Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest for high school students, organized in Oregon by the Oregon Arts Commission in collaboration with the NEA and the Poetry Foundation. Participants memorize and present poems, practicing public speaking skills while exploring the complexity of poetry.

In 2015 more than 365,000 students, 2,300 schools and 8,800 teachers participated in Poetry Out Loud nationwide.

The West Salem High School Poetry Out Loud contest was renamed The Chris Eddy Memorial Poetry Recitation Competition this year in honor of a longtime English teacher who founded Poetry Out Loud at the school in 2007 and succumbed to cancer on Dec. 31, 2017. A local scholarship fund was also created for school winners.

The Oregon Arts Commission developed the national model to fully include students who are deaf or have reduced hearing in Poetry Out Loud nearly 10 years ago.

Editor's note: View a clip of Calvin-Stupfel performing her winning poem and her reaction when she was named state champion: https://youtu.be/Nsw4TwpGgn4
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The Oregon Arts Commission provides leadership, funding and arts programs through its grants, special initiatives and services. Nine commissioners, appointed by the Governor, determine arts needs and establish policies for public support of the arts. The Arts Commission became part of Business Oregon (formerly Oregon Economic and Community Development Department) in 1993, in recognition of the expanding role the arts play in the broader social, economic and educational arenas of Oregon communities. In 2003, the Oregon legislature moved the operations of the Oregon Cultural Trust to the Arts Commission, streamlining operations and making use of the Commission's expertise in grantmaking, arts and cultural information and community cultural development.

The Arts Commission is supported with general funds appropriated by the Oregon legislature and with federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust. More information about the Oregon Arts Commission is available online at: www.oregonartscommission.org.

View more news releases from Oregon Arts Commission.