November 29th, 2017 | Author: Jessica Lopez

Poetry empowers our indigenous youth! For the first time ever, the Native American Community Academy will send students to recite poetry and compete at the New Mexico Poetry Out Loud (NMPOL) State Finals event in March 2018. For the past 12 years more than 10,000 high school students across New Mexico have participated in the Poetry Out Loud state recitation competitions, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), The Poetry Foundation and New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs.

Here is the low-down on what prizes are up for grabs. At the state level, the first-place winner will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete for the national championship. The state champion’s school library will receive a $500 stipend toward the purchase of poetry books. The runner-up will receive $100, and $200 for his or her school library. The national competition awards a total of $50,000 in prizes and school stipends at the national finals. The national champion will receive a $20,000 prize.

That’s a lot of dough awarded for poetry! Also, importantly it is an opportunity for our Indigenous youth to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the power of poetry, storytelling and the art of public speaking.  This is a platform for visibility and representation for Native American students, thus a chance for students to share their NACA Core Values and build leadership skills that will prepare them for college and beyond.

The NEA and The Poetry Foundation have created standards-based curriculum materials for participating schools to use. NACA students will select from over thousands of published and luminary classical, modern and contemporary poets ranging from Shakespeare to William Butler Yeats to Sherman Alexie, Joy Harjo and Jimmy Santiago Baca. On Friday, January 26, 2018, the NACA Main Campus will host a school-wide competition to select the lucky NACA student to move on to State Finals in Santa Fe, NM (March 2018).  There, the NACA representative will compete against a dozen other schools from across New Mexico for a chance to compete at the Nationals event in Washington, DC and a grand prize of $20,000.

Several NMPOL workshops have been facilitated at both NACA Main and Law Campus.  Several more are scheduled for near future. This competition is open to 9-12th graders only.  If you are a NACA student who is interested and have not already signed up please reach out to Ms. Emily Beenan, Ms. Katherine Page or Ms. Jessica Helen Lopez.  You may reach Ms. Lopez at  More information and promo flyers to come!