Ella DeAmaral, a sophomore at Anzar High School, recited two poems this past weekend at the State Capitol in Sacramento for the Poetry Out Loud State Finals. Through a grant from the California Arts Council, the San Benito County Arts Council brought Poetry Out Loud to the county for the first time this year.
DeAmaral won the county finals, which took place at Anzar High School on Jan. 29, and is the first student to represent San Benito County in the national program. In addition to a travel stipend to compete at the state finals, DeAmaral was also awarded a certificate of recognition from Assemblyman Luis Alejo, whose district includes San Benito County.
DeAmaral demonstrated tremendous poise and eloquence in her recitations of “Novel” by Arthur Rimbaud during Round 1, which was held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel Sacramento on Sunday night, Feb. 28,and “Aria” by David Barber, which she recited in Round 2 at the State Capitol Building on Monday morning, Feb. 29. During the poetry competition, students were treated to poetry and motivational speeches by the Dana Gioia, poet laureate of California and chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts, as well as the California State Librarian, Greg Lucas.
Although her recitations did not score high enough for the final round, DeAmaral said she was proud of her performance and is motivated for next year's competition, stating, “Poetry Out Loud gives confused, erratic teenagers a way to express themselves through the more eloquent words of poets.”
Two staff members from the San Benito County Arts Council attended the event in support of DeAmaral, along with Ella’s mother and best friend. Amanda Chiado, program manager at the Arts Council said DeAmaral, “represented San Benito County with conviction, and we are extremely proud of her.”
The winner of the state finals was Chigozie Maduchukwu of Pleasant Grove High School in Sacramento County. He will compete at the national finals in Washington, D.C. in May.
To find out more about this program or other programs offered through the San Benito County Arts Council visit www.sanbenitoarts.org.