OKANOGAN – The 12th annual Okanogan High School Poetry Out Loud contest will be at 7 p.m. Jan. 16.
The local championship is the first step in the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest. High school students are encouraged to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.
Nine students will compete in the Jan. 16 event in the school cafetorium, 244 S. Fifth Ave. Admission is free, but seating is limited. Donations will be accepted.
Finalists are Allie Eylar, Anna Arroyo, Madeline Luther, Karina Torres, Malina Weigel, Olivia Richards, Daisy Berthelson, Sydney Varshock and Destyne McDonald. Luther was last year’s state champion.
The winner receives $100, runner up receives $75 and the third-place finisher receives $50, said Okanogan English teacher and event organizer Dennis O’Connor. In addition, the champion will compete the eastern regional contest at the Downtown Library in Spokane on Jan. 30. The winner from that competition will go to the state championship March 7 at The Museum of Glass in Tacoma.
The state champion will receive an all-expenses-paid trip for two to compete for $50,000 in scholarships in Washington, D.C.
Doug Woodrow will be master of ceremonies for the local competition. Judges are Bud Gardner, Peter Donahue, Amy Cheeseman and Cari Zachow.
Support comes from the Okanogan Kiwanis Club, Bob and Janet Shacklett, Dennis and Julia O’Connor, Roy and Amber Johnson, Dan and Susan Brown, Darcy and Dean Klepec, Ashley and Bryon Goetz, Karen and Luke Cheseldon, Toni and Jason Brown, Sandy and Dave Colbert, and Shawn and Kendal Ingraham.
The competition is presented in partnership with the Washington State Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.
Cymone Van Marter won the Liberty Bell High School Poetry Out Loud contest in December.