CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Morgantown High School’s Tim DiFazio will represent West Virginia at the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest in Washington, D.C., on April 28-30.

DiFazio won Saturday’s state competition hosted by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History (WVDCH) and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

Grace Pritt of Hurricane High School was the runner-up.

DiFazio recited La Figlia che Piange by T. S. Eliot, To a Mouse by Robert Burns and Sign by George Starbuck. His teacher is Hannah Barnes.

Pritt’s poems included Love Song by Dorothy Parker, The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes and I felt a Funeral, in my Brain, (340) by Emily Dickinson. Her teacher is Ronda Moncada.

“I am blown away by the talent of these young people this year,” said Actor Chris Sarandon, who served as master of ceremonies. “The wonderful subtlety of their presentation and emotion is extraordinary.”

Thirty students from high schools in 23 counties competed in the semifinals on Friday, March 8, 2013, with the top 10 contestants competing Saturday for the state final. A complete list of semifinalists and their schools is attached. Top 10 winners are also noted.

DiFazio received $200 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national finals. West Virginia artists Chris Dutch and Robin Hammer, both of Charleston, created an artistic trophy for the winning student and a traveling trophy, which will be on display at DiFazio’s school for a year.

Morgantown High School also received a $500 stipend to buy poetry books.

As the runner-up, Pritt received $100 and $200 for her school library.

Poetry Out Loud is a poetry recitation contest sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry Magazine, the oldest English-language monthly publication dedicated to verse. The program is designed to encourage high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.

WVDC&H’s Director of Arts Jeff Pierson said it is important to honor each of the participants for “sharing poetry with us and reminding us of its importance. Their engagement is keeping poetry alive.”

For more information about the Poetry Out Loud and the state semifinal and final competition, contact Cicely Bosley, Arts in Education Coordinator for the Division, at (304) 558-0240.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

Aeesha Ranavaya, Cabell Midland High School, Cabell County
Dayja Legg, Capital High School, Kanawha County (Top 10)
Kristen Hensley, Chapmanville Regional High School, Logan County
Katherine Vandall, George Washington High School, Kanawha County (Top 10)
Levi Wells, Greenbrier West High School, Greenbrier County
Grace Pritt, Hurricane High School, Putnam County (Runner-up)
Anna Rubenstein, Nitro High School, Kanawha County
Dallas Hopkins, Ripley High School, Jackson County
Tyler Hammack, Roane County High School, Roane County (Top 10)
Kaelyn Miragilotta, Sherman High School, Boone County
Jared Workman, Spring Valley High School, Wayne County
Peyton Humphreys, Wahama High School, Mason County
Caitlin Fowlkes, Winfield High School, Putnam County
Sarah Jones, Wirt County High School, Wirt County
Madeline Richmond, Woodrow Wilson High School, Raleigh County
Olivia Hrko, Bridgeport High School, Harrison County
Sabrina Dahlia, East Fairmont High School, Marion County (Top 10)
Zela Wyrosdick, Fairmont Senior High, Marion County (Top 10)
Luke White, Lewis County High School, Lewis County
Bronwyn Clagett, Lincoln High School, Harrison County
Timberly Robinson, Lyceum Preparatory Academy, Ohio County (Top 10)
Mackenzie Roberts, Magnolia High School, Wetzel County
Ashley Feliz-Redman, Martinsburg High School, Berkeley County
Autumn White, Meadow Bridge High School, Fayette County 
Joshua Stretch, Monongalia Technical Education Center, Monongalia County
Tim DiFazio, Morgantown High School, Monongalia County (Winner)
Amelia Sark, Richwood High School, Nicholas County (Top 10)
Jessica Kimble, Tyler Consolidated High School, Tyler County
Rory Morgan Williams, Webster County High School, Webster County
Jalen McCrary, Wheeling Park High School, Ohio County (Top 10)

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MEDIA NOTE: Photographs of the State Final Competition are available at our website at