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2015 Poetry Out Loud Regional Finals Feature Two 'Firsts'

(Logo courtesy

The tenth annual Poetry Out Loud Regional Finals for area high school students were held last night at the Creamery Arts Center in Springfield. 

There were two "firsts" at the poetry recitation finals, where one student is chosen each year to represent southwest Missouri at the Statewide Poetry Out Loud competition in Jefferson City (with takes place in mid-March this year).

One "first" was that there were two "seconds"--a tie for runner-up, second place.  This has never happened before in the southwest Missouri Regional Finals.  After a quick tie-breaker round the runner-up award, which includes  two poetry books, went to Katherine Wartnaby from Joplin High School.

Something else also happened for the first time at the local Poetry Out Loud competition: the field of contestants was all girls this year. 

Winning First Place, and the right to go on to the State finals in Jefferson City, was Verniquia Foster of Springfield Central High School. 

Poetry Out Loud is a collaboration of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, the Missouri Arts Council and other agencies.

Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job has evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning Arts News. Stewart assists volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He's also become the de facto "Voice of KSMU" in recent years due to the many hours per day he’s heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's Ozzie Award in 2006.