Virginia Kiester

Chariho Regional High School’s Virginia Keister was named winner of the 2021 winner of the Poetry Out Loud state championship held last week during a live YouTube competition. Virginia will now go on to represent Rhode Island in both the regional competition on May 2 and national competition on May 27.

Both competitions will be streamed online.

Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest and a partnership with the RI State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The goal of the program is to inspire high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performances and competition. Beginning at the classroom level, winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to the state competition, and ultimately to the national finals in Washington, D.C.

Since its inception, 3.6 million students from 14,000 high schools nationwide have participated in Poetry Out Loud. This year, all preliminary school competitions and visits with teaching artists were done virtually. Students rose to the challenges presented by the pandemic to showcase their love and appreciation for poetry during this atypical school year. 

View the video of the state competition at

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