If this man is in town …
… it must be time for the state Poetry Out Loud finals.
That’s actor (and Beckley native) Chris Sarandon, who will be hosting the finals for the sixth straight year on Saturday. He’ll be joined by West Virginia poet laureate Marc Harshman and jazz duo Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola.
But since you can’t have finals without semifinals, those will be held on Friday. According to the state Division of Culture and History, there will be 30 high school students from 23 counties participating, and Charleston poet Crystal Good will be there. The top 10 students will advance to Saturday’s finals.
The state winner will get $200 and a trip to the national Poetry Out Loud finals at the end of April, and his or her school will get $500 to buy poetry books; the runner-up gets $100 and his or her school gets $200. Last year’s competition was won by Bruce McCuskey of Nitro High School.
Below is a list of participating students and their schools. If your local school isn’t involved, well, there’s always next year.
Aeesha Ranavaya, Cabell Midland High School, Cabell County
Dayja Legg, Capital High School, Kanawha County
Kristen Hensley, Chapmanville Regional High School, Logan County
Katherine Vandall, George Washington High School, Kanawha County
Levi Wells, Greenbrier West High School, Greenbrier County
Grace Pritt, Hurricane High School, Putnam County
Anna Rubenstein, Nitro High School, Kanawha County
Dallas Hopkins, Ripley High School, Jackson County
Tyler Hammack, Roane County High School, Roane County
Kaelyn Miragilotta, Sherman High School, Boone County
Jared Workman, Spring Valley High School, Wayne County
Peyton Humphreys, Wahama High School, Mason County
Caitlin Fowlkes, Winfield High School, Putnam County
Sarah Jones, Wirt County High School, Wirt County
Madeline Richmond, Woodrow Wilson High School, Raleigh County
Olivia Hrko, Bridgeport High School, Harrison County
Sabrina Dahlia, East Fairmont High School, Marion County
Zela Wyrosdick, Fairmont Senior High, Marion County
Luke White, Lewis County High School, Lewis County
Bronwyn Clagett, Lincoln High School, Harrison County
Timberly Robinson, Lyceum Preparatory Academy, Ohio County
Mackenzie Roberts, Magnolia High School, Wetzel County
Ashley Feliz-Redman, Martinsburg High School, Berkeley County
Autumn White, Meadow Bridge High School, Fayette County
Joshua Stretch, Monongalia Technical Education Center, Monongalia County
Tim DiFazio, Morgantown High School, Monongalia County
Amelia Sark, Richwood High School, Nicholas County
Jessica Kimble, Tyler Consolidated High School, Tyler County
Rory Morgan Williams, Webster County High School, Webster County
Jalen McCrary, Wheeling Park High School, Ohio County
Top photo by Tyler Evert, state Division of Culture and History