Greenbrier East High School student to represent WV at Poetry Out Loud Contest in Washington, DC, April 28-29


Greenbrier East High School’s Neely Seams will represent West Virginia at the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest in Washington, DC, on Apr. 28-29.

Seams won the state competition hosted by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History (WVDCH) and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts on Saturday, Mar. 7, at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston.

Tyler Ray of Webster County High School was the runner-up.

Seams recited Mi Historia by David Dominguez, Epitaph on the Tombstone of a Child, the Last of Seven that Died Before by Aphra Behn and Love Song by Dorothy Parker. Her teacher is Kallie Cochran.

Ray’s poems included Broken Promises by David Kirby, Domestic Situation by Ernest Hilbert and Ode by Arthur O’Shaughnessy. His teacher is Greta Cox.

Twenty-three students from high schools in 20 counties competed in the semifinals on Mar. 6, with the top 10 contestants competing Saturday in the state final. A complete list of semifinalists and their schools is attached. Top 10 finalists and Top 5 finalists are also noted.

Seams received $200 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC, for the national finals. Greenbrier East High School received a $500 stipend to buy poetry books.

As the runner-up, Ray received $100 and $200 for his school library.

West Virginia blacksmith artist Lucas Warner of Roane County created a wrought iron trophy for the winning student and a companion trophy, which will be on display at Greenbrier East High School.

Poetry Out Loud is a poetry recitation contest sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry Magazine, the oldest English-language monthly publication dedicated to verse. The program is designed to encourage high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.

This year, the Poetry Out Loud competition continued to grow. Beginning at the classroom level, more than 3,300 students and 94 teachers at 34 West Virginia high schools participated in the program.

For more information about Poetry Out Loud and the state semifinal and final competition, contact Jim Wolfe, arts in education coordinator for the division, at 304-558-0240.

The WV Division of Culture and History is an agency within the WV Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, cabinet secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

Poetry Out Loud Contestants:

• Zane Bowles, Meadow Bridge High School, Meadow Bridge, Fayette Co.

• Kaylee Burdette, Nitro High School, Nitro, Kanawha Co. (Top 10)

• Karissa Cox, Greenbrier West High School, Charmco, Greenbrier Co.

• Sabrina Dahlia, Morgantown High School, Morgantown, Monongalia Co. (Top 5)

• Abbey Delk, Wheeling Park High School, Wheeling, Ohio Co. (Top 10)

• Emily Fedders, Woodrow Wilson High School, Beckley, Raleigh Co.

• Breellen Fleming, Wirt High School, Elizabeth, Wirt Co.

• Alexa Gerrard, Brooke High School, Wellsburg, Brooke Co. (Top 10)

• Caleb Hanna, Richwood High School, Richwood, Nicholas Co.

• Emily Harrell, Capital High School, Charleston, Kanawha Co. (Top 10)

• Sarah Hofmann, Hurricane High School, Hurricane, Putnam Co.

• Brooke King, Ripley High School, Ripley, Jackson County (Top 5)

• Gabrielle Marshall, Lyceum Preparatory Academy, Wheeling, Ohio Co.

• Tyler McComas, Cabell Midland High School, Ona, Cabell Co. (Top 10)

• Taylor Miller, East Fairmont High School, Fairmont, Marion Co.

• Penelope Petre, Lewis County High School, Weston, Lewis Co.

• Corey Proctor, West Virginia School for the Blind, Romney, Hampshire Co.

• Tyler Ray, Webster County High School, Upperglade, Webster Co. (Runner-up)

• Mary Grace Rich, Pocahontas County High School, Dunmore, Pocahontas Co.

• Tori Richards, Bridgeport High School, Bridgeport, Harrison Co.

• Josee Robertson, John Marshall High School, Glen Dale, Marshall Co.

• Neely Seams, Greenbrier East High School, Fairlea, Greenbrier Co. (Winner)

• Maria Shibley, Spring Mills High School, Martinsburg, Berkeley Co. (Top 5)