Charleston's Claxton is one of nine finalists out of an original pool of over 300,000 high school students.
Tonight First Baptist School student Janae Claxton (who took home the prize of S.C. state champion for the second time this year) competes in the national finals of the Poetry Out Loud competition, held in Washington, D.C. Going up against eight other high school students — hailing from Arizona to Vermont — Claxton competes for the chance to win a $20,000 scholarship. Holy moly (roly poly).
Poetry Out Loud, an initiative of the National Endowment of the Arts, was started in 2005, and provides students and teachers, locally and nationally, with resources and funds to inspire the next generation of poets. The Poetry Out Loud competition has students reciting classic and contemporary poetry, advancing from an initial pool of 300,000 high school students across the country.
In a press release about the Poetry Out Loud finals,
NEA chairman Jane Chu says, "These students pour their dedication and skills into reciting their selected poems in a meaningful way that connects with those who are listening. The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to join the Poetry Foundation and the state arts agencies in making it possible for students all across the country to connect with great works of poetry through this competition."
Watch Claxton compete tonight starting at 7 p.m. via a free live stream on arts.gov.