Camille Decker to Represent Delaware in 2020 Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington

Sanford School senior to advance to
National Finals in Washington, DC

Smyrna, Del. (February 26, 2020) – From a field of 15 Delaware high school students, Camille Decker, a senior from Sanford School, earned the title of 2020 Poetry Out Loud Delaware State Champion at the state finals held in Smyrna, Del. on Feb. 25. The first runner-up was senior Sarah Zhu, from Wilmington Christian School and the second runner-up was Daniel Patrick Johnson, a senior from Mount Sophia Academy.

Daniel Patrick Johnson, Camille Decker and Sarah Zhu all hold their 2020 Delaware Poetry Out Loud state finalist awards
Daniel Patrick Johnson (Mount Sophia Academy), Camille Decker (Sanford School), Sarah Zhu (Wilmington Christian School)

Decker’s dynamic performances of “Double Dutch” by Gregory Pardlo and “Mingus at the Showplace” by William Matthews earned her a spot in the third and final round of six contestants where she recited William Blake’s “The Chimney Sweeper.” Her sense of humor, range of tone and confident style came through in the poem by Matthews, which can be found at the Poetry Foundation’s website.

For her winning presentation, Decker will receive $200 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington with a chaperone to compete at the National Semifinals which will be held at Lisner Auditorium on Tuesday, April 28. The National Finals will be held at the Terrace Theater at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, April 29 at 7pm. Sanford School will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials. Sarah Zhu, the first runner-up will receive $100, and Wilmington Christian School will receive $200 for its school library.

Front Row (l to r): Paul Weagraff, Director Division of the Arts; First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney; Charmaine Pasicolan; Rebecca Wisniewski; Natalia Castillo Vazquez; Julie Griswold; Penn Smith; Estelle Hegenbarth; Sarah Zhu; Camille Decker Back Row (l to r): Shalom Ighodaro; Sam McGarvey; Josh-Samuel Ikechi-Konkwo; Alex Free; Ian Hayes; Daniel Patrick Johnson; Reuben Everhart; J. Mack Wathen, Chair, Delaware State Arts Council

The Poetry Out Loud state competition, sponsored by the Delaware Division of the Arts 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.

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2020 Delaware State Finalists

Name Community
Josh-Samuel Ikechi-Konkwo Cape Henlopen High School
Sam McGarvey Delaware Valley Classical School
Ian Hayes Dover High School
Natalia Castillo Vazquez Hodgson Vo-Tech High School
Rebecca Wisniewski Milford Senior High School
Shalom Ighodaro MOT High School
Daniel Patrick Johnson Mount Sophia Academy
Reuben Everhart Newark Charter High School
Charmaine Pasicolan Saint Mark’s High School
Camille Decker Sanford School
Alex Free Seaford Senior High School
Penn Smith Sussex Central High School
Julie Griswold Tatnall School
Sarah Zhu Wilmington Christian School
Estelle Hegenbarth Wilmington Friends School

All photos should be credited with – Photo Credit: Joe del Tufo

About the Delaware Division of the Arts
The Delaware Division of the Arts is an agency of the State of Delaware. Together with its advisory body, the Delaware State Arts Council, the Division administers grants and programs that support arts programming, educate the public, increase awareness of the arts, and integrate the arts into all facets of Delaware life. Funding for Division programs is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. For more information about the Delaware Division of the Arts, visit or call 302-577-8278.


Contact: Leeann Wallett, Program Officer, Communications and Marketing