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Norwell High School Student Wins 2019 Poetry Out Loud State Finals

Norwell High School sophomore Rose Hansen was named Massachusetts's 2019 Poetry Out Loud (POL) Champion Sunday at Boston's Old South Meeting House. She bested 24 other finalists to earn the top honor. Second place went to Grace Hwang, a senior from International School of Boston, and placing third was Phaedra Plank, a junior from Nantucket High School.

Hansen receives an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC where she will compete in the National Finals on April 29 - May 1. Her school, Norwell High School will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry books. The Huntington Theatre Company's Education Department has facilitated the Massachusetts chapter of this national contest in partnership with the Mass Cultural Council since its inception 14 years ago. The program is facilitated nationally by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

The top seven finalists also included Anya Barrett, a junior from Worcester Technical High School; Mary Callanan, a junior from Mystic Valley Regional High School; Greta Luf, a junior from Monument Mountain Regional High School, and Esther Yen, a senior from Longmeadow High School.

"Culture is vital to empowering a new creative generation," says Anita Walker, Executive Director of Mass Cultural Council. "We want to ensure that culture plays a major role in the formation of creative, productive, and independent-minded young people in Massachusetts. We thank our partner the Huntington Theatre Company for bringing Poetry Out Loud into the lives of so many young people each year."

"Poetry Out Loud is a powerful and inspiring program," says Huntington Theatre Company Interim Co-Director of Education Meg O'Brien. "This year's contests were the toughest we've had to date, and we are proud of each and every student and teacher that participated in this program this year. Poetry Out Loud provides an opportunity to showcase the creative talents of our state's young people, and to celebrate the power and diversity of the spoken word. It's an honor to work with the Mass Cultural Council each year, and it's notable that the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation work to make this program free to all students and teachers in America."

More than 21,000 students and 590 teachers participated in classroom and school-wide contests at 82 schools. This year Massachusetts ranked 3nd in the nation for number of students participating in Poetry Out Loud, 3rd in the nation for number of teachers participating, and 5th in the nation for number of schools participating. This is the ninth year in a row Massachusetts has achieved a top-5 national ranking for student, school, and/or teacher participation. 72 winners from the school level advanced to semi-final contests in Boston, Cape Cod, Framingham, Newburyport, and Springfield on March 2, March 3, and March 4.

Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national recitation contest run by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation that celebrates the power of the spoken word and a mastery of public speaking skills while cultivating self-confidence and an appreciation of students' literary heritage as they take poetry from the page to the stage. Since its inception, POL has inspired more than 3.8 million high school students from 16,000 schools across the country to discover and appreciate both classic and contemporary poetry. The NEA and Poetry Foundation partner with state arts agencies in all 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands to support POL. Poetry Out Loud is a free program for schools, and all state contests are free and open to the public.

Learn more about Poetry Out Loud Massachusetts at

ABOUT THE Huntington Theatre Company
The Huntington Theatre Company is Boston's leading professional theatre and one of the region's premier cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Huntington brings together superb local and national talent and produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions. The Huntington runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Huntington has long been an anchor cultural institution of Huntington Avenue, the Avenue of the Arts, and will remain so on a permanent basis with plans to convert the Huntington Avenue Theatre into a first-rate, modern venue with expanded services to audiences, artists, and the community. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit


The Mass Cultural Council is a state agency that promotes excellence, inclusion, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and sciences to foster a rich cultural life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the vitality of our communities and economy.

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