Ashley Garrison of Mammoth High School Wins Mono County Poetry Out Loud Competition Presented January 28 at Edison Theatre

 Kyle Northington of Lee Vining High School Places Second in Highly Competitive Field


Poetry Out Loud winner, Ashley Garrison from Mammoth High School, shows her passion during her second poem: “How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Mammoth Lakes, CA – On Saturday, January 28 at 6:00 p.m. the Mammoth Lakes Foundation, with sponsorship locally by Eastern Sierra Community Bank and Booky Joint, presented the 2nd Annual Mono County Finals in the national Poetry Out Loud competition.  Twelve students from four Mono County high schools competed to represent the County in the State finals taking place in Sacramento on March 26.  Six judges and an accuracy judge scored students on a prescribed scale that evaluated each student’s performance of two poems on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, level of difficulty, evidence of understanding, and overall performance.  Only three points separated the winner Ashley Garrison from the runner up, Kyle Northington.

Poetry Out Loud was created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation and is administered in partnership with the State Arts Agencies—in this case the California Arts Council.  This year’s competition at the Edison Theatre was sponsored by the Eastern Sierra Community Bank and Booky Joint.  It is a contest that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. The program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. POL has grown every year with over 365,000 students


Reaction of Runner up Kyle Northington (foreground) just before announcing winner-Ashley Garrison (far right). Other participants L to R: Josh, Paige, Dakota, Jerrad, Jennifer and Cole.

competing in 2010-2011.

“The level of performance and participation of the students this year was an improvement over last year’s and I look forward to even greater results next year,” commented Shira Dubrovner, Artistic Director of the Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theatre. “It is truly thrilling to look into the house and see so many people attending and totally captivated by the efforts of our young people—not only parents but lovers of poetry and the arts as well.  We at the Mammoth Lakes Foundation are committed to this important project that inspires love of poetry and public speaking skills to our students—the perfect blending of the two aspects of the Mammoth Lakes Foundation’s mission—to support higher education and the arts in the Eastern Sierra.

This year competitors included students from Coleville High School, High Desert Academy,

Lee Vining High School, and Mammoth Lakes High School, all coached by Eva Poole-Gilson, a published local poet and instructor at Cerro Coso College-Mammoth Campus.  Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure that starts at the classroom level. Winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to a regional competition—the Mono County Competition at the Edison Theatre, then to the state competition on March 26 in Sacramento, and ultimately to the National Finals in Washington D.C. in May.

A complete listing of the students and their poems is attached.  Judges for the event were Jo Bacon; Malcolm Clark; Stacy Corless; Noelle Deinken; Bob Struckman; and Pat Struckman.  Accuracy Judge was Juliana Olinka and the Poetry Coach was Eva Poole-Gilson a published poet, and Cerro Coso College instructor.


2012 Mono County POETRY OUT LOUD finals

Participants, Schools and Poems

Josh Disbro – Coleville High School presented A Birthday, by Christina Rossetti and The Arrow and the Song, By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Amber Simerka – Coleville High School presented Catch a Little Rhyme, by Eve Merriam  and Dirge in Woods, By George Meredith

Jerrad VandeBrake – Coleville High School presented Romance, by Claude McKay and We Wear the Mask, by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Jennifer Finney- High Desert Academy School presented Love Song, by Dorothy Parker and We Wear the Mask, by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Cole Melendrez – High Desert Academy presented Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll  and The New Decalogue, by Ambrose Bierce

Maria Uribe – High Desert Academy presented  To Helen, by Edgar Allen Poe and To My Dear and Loving Husband, by Anne Bradstreet

Paige Hart – Lee Vining High School presented: The Spider and the Fly, by Mary Howitt and I Heard a Fly Buzz–When I Died, by Emily Dickinson

Dakota Montoya – Lee Vining High School presented Let It Be Forgotten, by Sara Teasdale and What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, and Where, and Why, by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Kyle Northington – Lee Vining High School presented Saturday’s Child, by Countee Cullen and Here, by Joshua Mehigan

Ashley Garrison Mammoth High School presented: The Pulley, by George Herbert and How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Mertizel Herrera – Mammoth Lakes High School presented Ego, by Denise Duhamel and A Song in the Front Yard, by Gwendolyn Brooks
Kelly Trullinger – Mammoth High School  presented Broken Promises, by David Kirby and Echo, by Christina Rossetti


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