inspiring high school students through the spoken word


After three years of hosting Nevada Poetry Out Loud virtually, the 18th annual Nevada Poetry Out Loud state competition convened in person at the Pioneer Center for Performing Arts in Reno, NV, on March 11, 2023.  Ashlee Sandoval, a junior at Elko High School, Elko, was named state champion and will represent Nevada at the 2023 Poetry Out Loud national finals competition in Washington D.C. Grace Hwang, a senior at Ed W. Clark High School , Las Vegas, placed second and Farrah Bader, a senior at Yerington High School, Yerington, placed third. View the 2023 Progam here.

2023 Nevada State Poetry Out Loud Champions

2023 Nevada State Poetry Out Loud Champion

ashlee Sandoval

Elko County

2023 Nevada State Poetry Out Loud Second Place


Clark County

2023 Nevada State Poetry Out Loud Third Place

Farrah Bader

Lyon County


eureka county

Selene Contreras

Selene Contreras is a 15-year-old girl attending Eureka
County High School who has a love for literature and the arts. Her favorite books are “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoevsky and Jane Austen’s
“Pride and Prejudice”. When Selene is not reading, she is expressing her creativity through writing and creating art. Debate is another passion of hers and she finds it exciting to discuss and defend her viewpoints with others while also learning about interesting topics in the process. Selene strives to be a determined and thoughtful individual, one that radiates kindness and empathy towards others. She would like to thank her Debate and Speech teacher Megan Carlson.


michael rees

Michael was born in Las Vegas and moved to Virginia City in 2020. He keeps himself busy with cross country, track and field, robotics, and Boy Scouts. He loves being outdoors and gardening. As an Eagle Scout, Michael can say that Boy Scouts has helped instill in him a love of learning and understanding the world around him, everything from the science to the philosophies of the unknown. And he loves how poetry and poets are able to show these topics with art and grace. He thinks that poetry is better than other art forms because of its ability to convey thoughts, emotions, ideas, or entire personalities through nothing more than a couple of stanzas. Michael would like to thank his mom, Kimberly Rees, his dad, John Rees, his twin brother, John Rees II, and his English teacher Mr. Watts.

washoe county

rayann hijazi

Rayann Hijazi is a Muslim Palestinian girl who is excited to be here. She adores poetry and writing and has been passionate about it since she was young. She was born in Albuquerque and has moved frequently around the U.S. Rayann has lived in Reno, Nevada for a few years and is excited to represent her school. She loves art, playing the flute and dreams to work in the medical field someday. She was always a very shy, sensitive kid, so she has quite the fear of public speaking. But she is super excited to be participating in Poetry Out Loud. Rayann would like to thank her mom Abeer Hijazi, her dad Ramzi Hijazi, her sister Noor Hijazi and her English teacher Mr. Lydon.

Focusing on our rich literary heritage and contemporary life through memorization and performance of classic and contemporary poetry, Nevada Poetry Out Loud is a program of the Nevada Arts Council, presented in partnership with National Endowment for the Arts, The Poetry Foundation, Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Nevada Department of Education, and Nevada School Districts.



Maryjane Dorofachuk, Arts Learning Specialist & POL State Coordinator, at mdorofachuk@nevadaculture.org or call 702.486.3738.