Josie Rinta competing in Poetry Out Loud

Congratulations to Ridgefield High School senior Josie Rinta on advancing to the state finals of the annual Poetry Out Loud competition. To qualify for state, Rinta was one of two finalists selected from the Regional Finals hosted by the ESD 112 on Monday, Feb. 7. The regional finals were held virtually this year and featured poetry recitations from 10 students who qualified for the event by winning their individual school competitions. Each regional finalist recorded and submitted two poetry recitations, and a team of Poetry Out Loud judges reviewed and scored each performance. Contestants were evaluated on criteria including physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding, accuracy, and overall performance.

“Josie's two outstanding recitations were some of the best ever presented in the seven years Ridgefield has taken part in Poetry Out Loud.” said Brittany Rodin, English teacher at Ridgefield High School. “This year, students prepared for the competition entirely outside of school hours, so Josie’s success is a testament to her own dedication and resilience.” 

Rinta impressed the judges with her recitations of “Sanctuary” by Jean Valentine and “Ode to the Midwest” by Kevin Young. She was joined by Sinai Flores from North Thurston High School in Lacey, WA in winning the Regional Finals. By winning the regional competition, Rinta and Flores are two of only 12 finalists headed to the state competition March 12. 

The competition, presented in partnership with the Washington State Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. More than 300,000 students nationwide took part in Poetry Out Loud last year.

Poetry Out Loud uses a “pyramid” structure that is very similar to how spelling bees work. Competitions begin at the classroom level, with each class’s winner advancing to a schoolwide competition. Winners then have the opportunity to compete in regional and state competitions, and ultimately to the National Finals in Washington, D.C. where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed.

To learn more about Poetry Out Loud, visit You can watch the Regional Final competition in its entirety here. Or, you can skip right to Rinta’s performances here and here.