Tonishia Jones, Middletown High School. Photography by Dee Marvin

Competing among eleven students from schools throughout Delaware, Tonisha Jones from Middletown High School became the winner of the state Poetry Out Loud contest held at the Schwartz Center for the Arts on February 28. Her recitation of Still I Rise by Maya Angelou, A Fixed Idea by Amy Lowell, and Revenge by Letitia Elizabeth Landon earned her high marks with the judges. The second place winner was Conor McGiffin from Dover High School, and the third place winner was Jonathan Duerr from Polytech High School.

For her winning presentation, Tonisha Jones receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with a chaperone to Washington to compete for the national championship on April 28-29, 2008. Middletown High School receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The Poetry Foundation will be awarding up to $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends at the National Finals, with at least a $20,000 college scholarship for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion. The second place finalist Conor McGiffin will receive $100, with $200 for Dover High School library.

The state Poetry Out Loud competition, sponsored by the Delaware Division of 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. The Division of the Arts congratulates each of the student participants in last night’s competition:

  • Tonisha Jones, 11th Grade, Middletown High School
  • Conor McGiffin, 10th Grade, Dover High School
  • Jonathan Duerr, 12th Grade Polytech High School
  • Castell Abner, III, 10th Grade, Concord High School
  • Alessandra “Sasha” Daniels, 9th Grade, Delmar High School
  • Kara Dent, 11th grade, Cab Calloway School for the Arts
  • Julia Quattro, 12th Grade, Padua Academy
  • Shaquille K. Nocks, 9th Grade, Sussex Central High School
  • John Poehlmann, 12th Grade, St. Elizabeth’s High School
  • Sarah Varnell, 11th Grade, Mount Sophia Academy
  • Justin Vigliotta, 10th Grade, Hodgson Vo-tech High School

2008 Poetry Out Loud – Participating Students and High Schools

Delaware State Competition, Tuesday, February 28, 2008 at 7:00 p.m., Schwartz Center for the Arts, Dover, Delaware

Cab Calloway School of the Arts

Concord High School

Delmar High School

Dover High School

Hodgson Vo-Tech High School

Middletown High School


Mt. Sophia Academy

Padua Academy

Polytech High School

St. Elizabeth High School

Sussex Central High School

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