Thayer Central freshman Elle Sudbeck is one of five high school students who have advanced from State Semi-Finals and will compete for the Poetry Out Loud state championship. The championship will be streamed on Friday, March 12, 2021 at 6:00pm CST. Nebraska’s State Poet, Matt Mason, will serve as emcee for the competition. 

The event is free for all to view. Sign up to watch the broadcast on the NAC website.  Those who sign up in advance will receive a viewing link and a reminder an hour prior to the event. A direct link to the broadcast will be listed on the Nebraska Arts Council website the day of the event.

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry and a dynamic recitation competition to high schools across the country. The program is conducted in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Nebraskans for the Arts is also a partner with the state program, and will provide trophies for the top three contestants.

Students will recite works selected from an anthology of more than 900 classic and contemporary poems. Schools represented at this year’s state finals include

Cedar Catholic High School  (Hartington)
Gordon-Rushville High School  (Gordon)
Marian High School  (Omaha)
Skutt Catholic High School  (Omaha)
Thayer Central Community Schools  (Hebron)

Judges for this year’s event are, Poet and UNL Doctoral candidate, Saddiq Dzukogi, Nebraska State Board of Education member, Patsy Koch-Johns, Artistic Director of the Nebraska Repertory Theatre, Andy Park, English Language Arts Specialist at the Nebraska Department of Education, Marissa Payzant, Ed.D. and Jennifer Dreibelbis, Grants and Data Administrator at the Nebraska Arts Council.

The winner will receive $200 and will compete in the national championship, to be broadcast in May. The state champion’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. The first runner-up will receive $100, and $200 for his or her school library. Poetry Out Loud will award a total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends at the national competition, including a $20,000 scholarship for the national winner.

Elle is the daughter of Darren and Denese Sudbeck. She is coached by Thayer Central POL advisor, Anne Roesner Heitmann.