The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Georgia Council for the Arts announced that Grayson Nour, a senior at Whitefield Academy in Mableton, took home first prize in the 2020 Poetry Out Loud state championship.

A senior at DeKalb School of the Arts in Avondale Estates, Kamryn Jones, was runner-up in the competition. Notably, more Georgia schools than ever before joined this year’s program.

While regional contests were held in person, this year’s final spring competition was conducted through video entries submitted by the students in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically, the state champion would go on to represent Georgia at the national finals in Washington, D.C. However, the national Poetry Out Loud Finals were canceled this year as a precautionary measure.

Poetry Out Loud is a national program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation which encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization and recitation of the written word. Georgia’s Poetry Out Loud champion would normally receive $200 from the National Endowment for the Arts. However, due to the cancellation of the National Finals this year, Nour and each of the other state champions will receive $1,000. Her school will also be presented with a $500 certificate that will go toward new books.

As Poetry Out Loud runner-up, Jones will receive $100 from the NEA, and $200 for new books for her school.

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