photo: James Kegley

September 2014 Spotlight Winner

The September Spotlight on Student Achievement in the Arts is awarded to Skutt Catholic High School student and 2014 Poetry Out Loud Nebraska State Champion, Amanda Pohlman.

Amanda is a student with great zest, participating in all the opportunities in the arts that are available to her at school. Her achievements as a freshman last year included:

  • Poetry Out Loud Nebraska State Champion 2014
  • Skutt Catholic Outstanding Freshman Student of English 2014
  • Show Biz Dance Competition Teen Solo Champion 2013
  • International Thespian Society Induction 2014
  • Skutt Catholic Varsity Letter in Theater 2014

Nominating teacher, Sherri Hoye, says, “Amanda’s willingness to work hard and handle challenges and successes with an uncommon poise for her age is a great inspiration to her schoolmates, family and teachers.”

Amanda is grounded in the fine and performing arts in dance, theatre, poetry recitation, and singing. “Amanda takes great pride in her academic studies and, WOW!, you should see her light up a stage when she performs.,” according to Amanda’s mother, Michele Pohlman. “I believe that Amanda maintains a well balanced life through her strong faith and the close ties she has with her four siblings. Brent and I are so very blessed to call Amanda our daughter!”

Amanda believes the arts make a significant impact on her life. “The Arts are everywhere!,” she says. “Musicals and plays not only teach me life lessons, but also expand my knowledge of history and vocabulary.” As to the importance of poetry for the 2014 Nebraska representative to the Poetry Out Loud national competition, Amanda states, “Poetry helps me break down and comprehend different situations and school tasks thrown my way. In understanding poems, I learned fresh, new takes on where words can take you. Words are powerful things that enable me to be confident.”

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with the Nebraska Arts Council and U.S. state arts agencies to support Poetry Out Loud, a contest that encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. For more information about the 10th annual Poetry Out Loud competition, contact the Nebraska Arts Council at (402) 595-2122/(800) 341-4067, or visit the Poetry Out Loud website to learn more about the program.