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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Poetry Out Loud English recitation semifinals begin Friday

By The Star Staff

The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (ICP) on Thursday announced the start of the semifinal phase of the student poetry English recitation competition Poetry Out Loud (POL) Puerto Rico 2024.

The first semifinal will take place Friday from noon to 4 p.m. at the Antonio Paoli Theater on the Ponce campus of Inter-American University of Puerto Rico. The second semifinal will be held on Friday, Feb. 23 at the José A. Monrouzeau Municipal Theater in Hatillo, starting at noon.

Competing in the first semifinal are Academia Bilingüe Visión Educativa of Las Piedras, Alberto Meléndez Torres High School of Orocovis, Alejandro Tapia y Rivera Montessori School of Lajas, Benjamin Harrison Vocational High School of Cayey, Rehma Presbyterian School of Hormigueros, CROEM of Mayagüez, CROEV of Villalba, Rafael Pont Flores Specialized Language School of Aibonito, San Germán Inter-American School, Leonides Morales Rodríguez High School of Lajas, San Juan Sports School, San Juan Specialized School in Mathematics, Sciences and Technology, School of San Juan, Missionary Christian Academy of Sabana Grande and Washburn School of Ponce.

Competing in the second semifinal on Feb. 23 are American Military Academy of Bayamón, Congregation Mita School of San Juan, San Ignacio School of San Juan, Dorado Academy, Padre Rufo Specialized Language School of San Juan, Lorenzo Coballes Gandía High School of Hatillo, Manuel Ramos Hernández High School of Quebradillas. Nicolás Sevilla Guemárez High School of Toa Alta, St. John’s School of San Juan, TASIS Dorado, Tomás C. Ongay High School of Bayamón, University Gardens High School of San Juan and UHS of San Juan.

POL is an arts education program conducted in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The program encourages the study of poetry, offering free educational materials for teachers and students.

POL is a dynamic declamation contest aimed at 9th to 12th grade students in public and private schools. This year, 28 schools from Puerto Rico are participating in the regional competitions. As part of the dynamics in the competition, contestants must recite from memory works from an anthology of classic and contemporary poems in English. The semifinals and finals of the competition are free and open to the public.

Each year, students receive mentorship from Puerto Rican poets and artists. The competition has different stages until a representative is selected at the state level. The person who wins in Puerto Rico competes nationally against winners from all over the United States and its territories. Since the program’s inception in 2005, more than 4.1 million students and 68,000 teachers from across the United States have participated.

The winner of the POL Puerto Rico final will receive $200, and their school will receive a $500 stipend to purchase poetry materials. The first runner-up will receive $100, with $200 for the represented school to purchase poetry materials. The Puerto Rican champion will be able to compete in the Poetry Out Loud national final in Washington, D.C., in May and will travel with all expenses paid.

POL activities are open to the general public and free of charge. The POL Puerto Rico final will be held on Friday, March 8, at Francisco Arriví Theater in San Juan, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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