Samuel Hirner, a Junior at Hannibal High School, was named the 2021 Northeast Missouri Poetry Out Loud Regional Champion at the regional finals held virtually via uploaded poem recitation videos. Hirner recited “Contraction” by Ravi Shankar, “The Statesman” by Ambrose Bierce and “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. His school coordinator is Blake Niemann. Other students participating were Eva Gaugh (Freedom Christian Learning Center), Kaitlyn Ryberg (Holt High School), Megan Hodges (St. Joseph Christian School) and Nick Merlo (Crossroads College Preparatory School).
Hirner will represent Northeast Missouri in the virtual state finals. He will compete against the winners of four other regional finals held throughout the state. The winner of the state final will complete virtually in the national finals.
Each of the participants in the regional finals recorded and submitted three poems for judging. Judges scored each recitation on physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, overall performance and accuracy.
Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. Poetry Out Loud uses a pyramid structure. Beginning at the school level, winners advance to a regional competition, then to a state competition, and ultimately to the National Finals. The competition was presented by the Hannibal Arts Council in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, the Missouri Arts Council, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Missouri Association of Community Arts Agencies.