Media Alert: 2019 Poetry Out Loud State Finals – Tuesday, Feb. 26

Twelve Delaware high school students to compete for the state title

February 22, 2019

WHAT: Twelve Delaware high school students will participate in the state finals for Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest at Smyrna Opera House. The winner of this competition will represent Delaware and advance to the National Finals in Washington, DC on April 29 – May 1, 2019, where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed. This program is sponsored by the Delaware Division of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation.

WHEN: Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. Students start arriving at 5 p.m.

WHERE: Smyrna Opera House, 7 W South Street, Smyrna, DE 19977

WHO: Finalists, Featured Speakers and Judges will be:


2019 Delaware State Finalists

Name School
Emma Elliott Dover High School
Chelsea Anokye-Agyei Hodgson Vo-Tech High School
Sarah Stevenson Milford Senior High School
Nadia Sheikh MOT Charter High School
Daniel Patrick Johnson Mount Sophia Academy
Megan Chen Newark Charter High School
Ashton Driver Red Lion Christian Academy
Anne Rosenthal Sanford School
Brandon Greenlee Sussex Central High School
Samuel McGarvey Tall Oaks Classical School
Catherine Enslen Ursuline Academy
Mariela Rivero Wilmington Christian School

Speakers and judges will be:


Paul Weagraff, Director, Delaware Division of the Arts

J. Mack Wathen, Chair, Delaware State Arts Council

Mistress of Ceremonies:

Donna DeKuyper, Singer, Actress and Co-Owner, Hotel Blue, Lewes, DE


Dr. Ethan Joella, English and Social Sciences Faculty, University of Delaware, Georgetown, Director, Ethan Joella Communications

Susan Kehoe, Managing Partner, Browseabout Books, Rehoboth Beach, DE

Reverend John G. Moore, Director, Philanthropy and Engagement, United Way of Delaware

Chet’la Sebree, 2019 Individual Artist Fellow – Poetry

Dr. David Teague, Professor of English, Associate in Arts Program, University of Delaware

Dr. Jesse Zuba, Assistant Professor of English, Delaware State University

Christian Wills, Former Poetry Out Loud Contestant will serve as the Prompter

Heather Morrissey, Delaware State Arts Council Member will serve as Accuracy Judge


JW2, is made up of James Witherite (organ) and Jonathan W. Whitney (drums), who bring their own originals and favorites from the jazz, funk, and old-school R&B genres to life.

OTHER: Attendance at Smyrna Opera House is free and open to the public. The 2019 Poetry Out Loud Media Kit for this event is available on our website. Hi-Res photos will be available the day after the event. Use hashtags: #POL19, #iampoetryoutloud, and #DDOA30. Tag us at: @ArtsDelaware



Contact: Leeann Wallett, Program Officer, Communications and Marketing