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CONTACT:  Rebecca Cruse, Deputy Director, SDAC




South Dakota Students Compete for Poetry Out Loud Title


PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota high school students will share their talents and the work of great poets while competing for the state title at the Poetry Out Loud recitation competition.


The event begins at 1 p.m. CDT, Monday, March 18, at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls. Nine students will compete for the title of state champion through the recitation program. Three students have already won the original poetry competition, and they will present their poems at the event. The contest is free to attend and open to the public. It will also be streamed at, The student who places first at the state competition will represent South Dakota in Washington, D.C., and compete in the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, April 30-May 2, 2024.


Poetry Out Loud, a national arts education program, starts in the classroom and encourages the study of poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. South Dakota’s program is administered by the South Dakota Arts Council with help from Arts South Dakota and South Dakota Public Broadcasting.


Poetry Out Loud was created in partnership by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation with the collaboration of state arts agencies. It is intended to foster the next generation of literary readers by building on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form. Through Poetry Out Loud, students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.


The South Dakota Arts Council, an office of the South Dakota Department of Tourism, is a state agency serving South Dakotans and their communities through the arts with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the State of South Dakota. The South Dakota Department of Tourism is comprised of Travel South Dakota and the South Dakota Arts Council. The department is led by Secretary James D. Hagen.




*Media note, local interest


Students competing for the title of South Dakota Poetry Out Loud State Champion include:


  • Mads McCullough, Brookings High School
  • Grace Powell, Dakota Valley High School, North Sioux City
  • Karissa Nolan, Flandreau High School
  • Nikolas Yellowboy, Little Wound High School, Kyle
  • James Schelske, Mitchell High School
  • Elsa Bell, O’Gorman High School, Sioux Falls
  • Scout Gaikowski, Sisseton High School
  • Gavin Black Bear, T.F. Riggs High School, Pierre
  • Siyanne Redda, Washington High School, Sioux Falls



Students presenting award-winning original poetry include:

  • Chloe Heermann, Brookings High School, for the poem, “How Was Your Break?”
  • Darcy Plenty Bull, Little Wound High School, Kyle, for the poem, “The Different Ways of Love.”
  • Elizabeth Driscoll, Washington High School, Sioux Falls, for the poem, “Barcodes.”