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Gillund Winner of WFHS Poetry Out Loud Competition

WEST FARGO, ND – (January 20, 2021) – Benjamin Gillund, of West Fargo High School, has won the school’s inaugural Poetry Out Loud competition.

As the school’s winner, Gillund receives a $50 award and advances to the virtual state competition in February. As a state level competitor, he will have the chance to advance to the national competition in late spring.

The competition is in its first year at West Fargo High School and is supported in part by a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts (NDCA), which receives funding from the state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts. Ms. Dakota Breen, an English learner (EL) language arts teacher at West Fargo High School, received NDCA’s Poet in Schools Grant this past fall, which also allowed West Fargo High School to host a virtual performance from regional poet, Joe Davis.


Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies. Since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than four million students and 65,000 teachers from 16,000 schools in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.


The North Dakota Council on the Arts (NDCA) is a service and program agency of the state, established in 1967 by the State Legislature to “to ensure that the role of the arts in the life of our communities will continue to grow and will play an ever more significant part in the welfare and educational experience of our citizens.” Their purpose is to bring that commitment to life. NDCA operates with an annual budget of approximately $1.5 million through the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and an appropriation from the North Dakota State Legislature. The majority of NDCA’s budget is awarded to organizations and individuals through various grant programs.


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Stephanie Hansen
(701) 499-1073