MUHS senior to perform in state final of Poetry Out Loud contest

MONTPELIER — Middlebury Union High School senior Olivia Cacciatore will compete with peers from other Vermont high schools for a state title this Thursday evening, but it won’t be in a gym or on a ski trail. She will be among the 10 finalists from the Poetry Out Loud semi-finals last week who will meet at the Vermont Public Television studio in Colchester.
These talented high school students have been working for months to perfect their recitation skills, and Thursday’s event will determine who will go to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national competition.
The finals will be live-streamed beginning at 7 p.m. A special broadcast of the finals will be aired at a later date.
To make the finals, Cacciatore, who performed this past weekend as the Scarecrow in the MUHS Senior play, “The Wizard of Oz,” presented in the semi-final competition on March 14 in Barre, where she read “To Autumn” by the English Romantic poet John Keats. Watch the semi-finals here.
Vermont’s champion will receive a cash prize of $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to the nation’s capital to compete for the national championship. The champion’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. Students from 53 high schools — champions from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands — will compete for a total of $50,000 in scholarship awards and school stipends at the national finals.
To be part of the Vermont Poetry Out Loud State-Finals studio audience, members of the public can register for free at VermontArtsCouncil.org.
A live stream of the full event will be available at VermontArtsCouncil.org.
The competition, which will start at 7 p.m., will be live tweeted by @VTArtsCouncil using the hashtag #POLVT.
 The Poetry Out Loud program was created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, and is administered by the Vermont Arts Council. Now in its ninth year in Vermont, Poetry Out Loud has inspired hundreds of thousands of high school students to discover classic and contemporary poetry. The Poetry Out Loud program builds on the rising interest in poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the popularity of rap music. Students learn about great poetry while mastering public speaking skills and building self-confidence.
In addition to Cacciatore, the other Vermont finalists are: Jake Blankenship of Lyndon Institute, Sam Boudreau of Bellows Free Academy, Olive Capone of Rice Memorial High School, Elizabeth Cummin of Mount Mansfield Union High School, Christian DeKett of St. Johnsbury Academy, Clara Henderson of The Sharon Academy, Marya Merriem of Randolph Union, Basundhara Mukherjee of South Burlington High School and Anna Van Dine of Harwood Union.

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