Gillette student headed to D.C. after winning state poetry competition

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Wyoming Arts Council announces Abbi Wingfield, hailing from Thunder Basin High School in Gillette, as the 2020 Poetry Out Loud state champion.

More than 620 students participated in Poetry Out Loud across the state, with 14 high school champions advancing to the state finals, held in Cheyenne, on March 2. Judges evaluated student performances on criteria including physical presence, voice and articulation, accuracy, and evidence of understanding.

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. 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 the program began in 2005, more than 3.8 million students and 60,000 teachers from 16,000 schools across the country have participated in Poetry Out Loud.

When Governor Mark Gordon announced her name, Wingfield was speechless. “I thought I was dreaming, to be honest,” she said. The high school senior noted, “It was a tough competition.”

Wingfield received an award of $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete at the Poetry Out Loud national finals April 28-29. Supporters can cheer her on through a live, one-time-only webcast of the Poetry Out Loud national finals on April 28-29, at arts.gov. Fans can also host a Poetry Out Loud webcast viewing party to learn more about the art of poetry recitation.

Born and raised in Gillette, this will be Wingfield’s first trip to the nation’s capital. “I’m super excited and nervous,” she said.

Wingfield’s high school, Thunder Basin, received a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry materials.

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