Tyrone Senior Named National Semi-Finalist in 2022 Poetry Out Loud Competition

To watch the live announcement of the nine finalists live, go to arts.gov on Sunday at noon.

To Pennsylvania’s 2022 Poetry Out Loud State Champion and Tyrone senior Mario Grugan, poetry is a description of nature in the most abstract sense.

Grugan’s love of poetry and his talent for public speaking have taken him far this year – earning him the title of Poetry Out Loud Pennsylvania state champion and a spot in the national Poetry Out Loud competition, with a chance at a $20,000 first prize.

In total, $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed as part of the national finals.

To be chosen out of so many wonderful speakers to represent the state of Pennsylvania is a true honor”

— Mario Grugan

This Sunday Grugan finds out if he is one of the nine national semifinals out of the 55 students from across the 50 states and 5 territories left in the contest.

In a live online broadcast beginning at 12 pm on Sunday, May 1 the champions from Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. (Students will recite in the following order: SC, OH, USVI, NJ, DE, DC, NY, VT, NC, CT, RI, ME, WV, PA, VA, MA, MD, NH.)

If named as one of the three finalists from the Northeast region, Grugan will advance to the finals held on Sunday, June 5th.

The finals will be hosted by poet, educator, publisher, and New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander, and feature recitations and interviews with the top nine finalists, culminating with the live announcement of the 2022 Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

Grugan’s journey to nationals started back in January when he was named the local Poetry Out Loud champion in the Tyrone Area High School Library, competing against three other Tyrone students.

He then had to win the regional competition, which was held virtually. To do so, Grugan submitted three orations in video form.

Finally, he had to win states. Last year, Grugan placed fourth in states, but this year he was able to place first out of the 4,217 students who competed in Pennsylvania. The state competition was also held virtually, over Zoom.

“I feel honored to represent Pennsylvania in the national competition,” said Grugan. “To be chosen out of so many wonderful speakers to represent the state of Pennsylvania is a true honor.”

If Grugan can beat 15 state champs in the Northeast Region, he will advance to the final national round held on Sunday, June 5th.

Please wish Mario the best of luck. We are honored and excited for him to represent us nationally.”

— Tyrone's speech team advisor Mrs. Leah Deskevich

“Please wish Mario the best of luck,” said Tyrone’s speech team advisor Mrs. Leah Deskevich, “We are honored and excited for him to represent us nationally.”

For Grugan and the other national competitors, the video submission process drastically changed from states, where students were on their own to record their submissions.

For nationals, the National Endowment for the Arts sent each competitor materials to record their three poems, including microphones, tripods, two smartphones, and ring lights.

The competitors also had to take supplementary videos, which were short clips that displayed their hobbies, interests, and something representing their state.

For Grugan’s supplementary shots, he did magic tricks, played chess, and lifted weights with Tyrone English teacher, Mr. Stephen Everhart.

“The video process was very smooth and professional,” said Grugan.

A clip from Grugan’s supplemental shots was used in the promotional video linked above.

To watch the live announcement of the nine finalists live, go to THIS LINK on arts.gov on Sunday at noon.