Alex Cummiskey, 1st Place Finalist Photography by Kathleen Buckalew©
Alex Cummiskey, Middletown High School. Photography by Kathleen Buckalew©

Competing among seventeen students from schools throughout Delaware, Alex Cummiskey from Middletown High School became the winner of the state Poetry Out Loud contest held at the Smyrna Opera House on February 24th. His recitation of Chicago by Carl Sandburg, A Satirical Elegy on the Death of a Late Famous General by Jonathan Swift, and Immortal Sails by Alfred Noyes earned him high marks with the judges. The second place winner was Castell Abner, III from Concord High School. JoAnn Balingit, Delaware’s Poet Laureate who presented the awards commented on the evening, “Once again, the Poetry Out Loud student finalists delivered amazing performances! I had such fun listening to the poems they recited because this contest is about enjoying language and letting it take you for a ride. After each poem, I could feel how moved the audience was; the electricity in that packed house—barely stifled. Some of the poems the students recited for this event were funny, others intense–but the performances conveyed poetry’s power over and over again. They should all be proud. It was a wonderful show. ”

For his winning presentation, Alex Cummiskey receives $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip with a chaperone to Washington to compete for the national championship April 26-27, 2010. 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 Castell Abner, III will receive $100, with $200 for Concord 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 this year’s competition. Photography by Kathleen Buckalew ©

2010 Poetry Out Loud – Participating Students and High Schools


Delaware State Competition, Tuesday, February 24, 2010 at 7:00 p.m., Smyrna Opera House, Smyrna, Delaware

Cab Calloway School for the Arts

Caravel Academy

Concord High School

Delmar High School

Dover High School

Lake Forest High School

Middletown High School

Newark High School

Padua Academy

Pencander Charter High School

Red Lion Christian Academy

Seaford High School

St. Elizabeth High School

St. Marks High School

Sussex Central High School

William Penn High School

Wilmington Christian School

Wilmington Friends School

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