On Friday, February 9, 2018, six El Dorado County high school students converged on the Imagination Theater stage to compete for the title of El Dorado County Poetry Out Loud Champion. In the end, only one would move on to the State Finals in March to compete for the title of California State Champion. The house was full of friends, family, and poetry enthusiasts from all over El Dorado County who were anticipating an evening filled with the power of poetry. A guest panel of judges had trained, studied the poetry selections, and diligently prepared for this evening’s recitations. Each contestant would be evaluated based on several facets of their recitation including dramatic appropriateness, voice and articulation, evidence of understanding, and accuracy. Sometimes a winning recitation is arrived at based on a miniscule difference in points. After each recitation was delivered and the judges took time to score and tabulate the final results, Julian Sharwarko entertained the audience with classical guitar.
The results were scored, tabulated and agreed upon by the judging panel and the winning names were given to Master of Ceremonies Andrew Vonderschmitt, the Arts Council’s program manager, who announced the winners. Third place went to Kaitlyn Stahl of Ponderosa High School, second place was awarded to Sarah Allen of El Dorado High School, and first place went to Jordan Soto of Charter University Prep, who will don the title of 2018 El Dorado County Poetry Out Loud Champion. The crowd responded with uproarious applause as the trophies were handed out and the winners lined up for photographs.
Jordan Soto will compete against students from all participating California counties in Sacramento on March 18 and 19, 2018.
Round One of the State Competition will begin at 4:00 PM on Sunday, March 18, on stage at the Crest Theatre at 1013 K Street in Sacramento, and rounds Two and Three will begin at 8:30 AM on Monday, March 19, in the Assembly Chamber of the State Capitol at 10th and L Streets in Sacramento. Both competitions are open to the public.
The Arts Council assembled and trained a panel of luminary judges for the 2018 County Finals. These notable individuals were chosen for their unique qualifications, passion for the written word, and a drive to support this important program: Jeanne Amos, Library Director, El Dorado County Library; Lester Brown, Vice President, El Dorado Arts Council; Mimi Escabar, Lifestyle Editor, Mountain Democrat; Tina Ferguson, Owner, Face in a Book; Joshua Fernandez, English Professor, Folsom Lake College; Taylor Graham, El Dorado County Poet Laureate; Terry LeMoncheck, Executive Director, El Dorado Arts Council; Jayne Moore, Senior Vice President, El Dorado Savings Bank; Beverly Schwarzberg, Senior Vice President, El Dorado Savings Bank; Wendy Thomas, Placerville City Mayor