Three St. Tammany Parish High School Students Advance to 2020 Poetry Out Loud State Competition

Three St. Tammany Parish High School Students Advance to 2020 Poetry Out Loud State Competition

The 2020 Parish-level St. Tammany Parish Poetry Out Loud Competition was held on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at Covington High School.  Eight St. Tammany Parish High Schools with a total of 22 students, competed in the ninth annual competition. The top three finalists who advanced to the State Championship coming up at the Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge on March 7, 2020 are as follows: First Place, Justin Basse of Covington High School; Second Place, Jessee Gille of Pearl River High School; and Third Place, Jacob Simmons of Covington High.
“I’d like to congratulate these three students and wish them luck at the State level in their bid for a spot in the national competition,” said Mike Cooper, St. Tammany Parish President. “We appreciate your time and preparation for this chance to proudly represent St. Tammany.”
Winners from each state who advance in their respective competitions, will then compete for the National Poetry Out Loud Championship in Washington D.C.
Created by The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is a program that encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through exploration, memorization and performance. The inspiration for this competition is to promote the art of poetry in both the classroom and the community. Participants are scored on performance and accuracy by a panel of judges. The St. Tammany Parish Commission on Cultural Affairs coordinates this competition for the students in our Parish.
To learn more about the Poetry Out Loud Competition and what students and schools can win through this competition, visit



PHOTO LEFT TO RIGHT: St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs (CCA) Chair Laura Prisco; 1st Place Winner Justin Basse of Covington High), 2nd Place winner Jessee Gille of Pearl River High, 3rd Place winner Jacob Simmons of Covington High, CCA Vice Chair Kelly Elliott


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