Poetry Out Loud 2021 County Champion

Poetry Out Loud: Pinole Valley High's Jermaine Gitana Selected as 2021 County Champion
Posted on 04/01/2021

On February 19, the Contra Costa County Arts and Culture Commission announced that Pinole Valley High School's Jermaine Gitana as their 2021 Poetry Out Loud Champion! Earlier in the month, the Commission held a live virtual screening of the top poet awardees on Facebook and CCCOE's edTV. Esmeralda Noyola from Deer Valley High School won second place and San Ramon Valley High School's Tessa Brubaker took third place. The County Finals also featured impressive high school participants Patricia May Villanueva (Prospects High School), Michael Miralles (John Henry High School), Kyla Erika Nano (Concord High School), and Kaleigh Thurman (College Park High School).

Gitana, told the virtual audience, “I am a 17 year-old senior at Pinole Valley High who is part Black and Filipino. I enjoy playing instruments, making music, swimming, singing, and most of all reciting poetry.” His performances of the poem Written By Himself by Gregory Pardlo and piano accompaniment by D. H. Lawrence proved to be a winning combination.

Poetry Out Loud is a National Arts Education program that encourages the study of poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country.

This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Poetry Out Loud provides free online curriculum materials, including a poetry anthology, comprehensive teacher’s guide, videos of past student performances, lesson plans, and promotional and media resources.

All Contra Costa County students, grades 9-12, are invited to enter Poetry Out Loud. School winners advance to the county competition each February, then the State competition in March.

Every Contra Costa County high school (public, private, independent, alternative, continuation, court, charter, and home schools), as well as non-profit organizations and libraries are encouraged to participate. Students enter the competition through their high schools or a school Poetry Out Loud liaison such as a teacher, librarian, school staff, or organization member.

To watch the Virtual Screening and Awards Ceremony please visit here: https://fb.watch/3KMSXTs_gN/

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