Carson Valley Middle School student Serena Herup is looking forward to cheering on her fellow classmates as they perform in the district competition for Poetry Out Loud on Saturday night.
The national recitation contest is 6:30 p.m. at 88 Cups & More in the Minden Village.
"I always hope I will win, but you never know what will happen. It's all friendly competition," Serena said. "I hope that at least somebody from Douglas County goes and wins nationals for us."
This is the 14-year-old's first time participating in Poetry Out Loud. She will be reciting "Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky" by Lewis Carroll, and "Every Single Day" by John Straley.
"I really like acting a lot and I know when somebody's writing a poem they have a lot of feelings and expression in it, and I want to show that to other people," Serena said. "I just remember that this is all for fun and I love what I'm doing."
Ten middle school students and one Douglas High student will recite one poem in the first round of competition, with the finalists moving on to the second round and reciting another poem.
Competition Coordinator Susan Van Doren has been involved with Poetry Out Loud for four years. Every year she is amazed by the talent in Douglas County.
"The students are amazing. Every year it always surprises me which student steps up to the plate and does well," she said. "It's not always who you would think."
She also encouraged more students to participate in the poetry competition.
"The process of memorizing, performing and internalizing it in their mind gets them at a level of understanding they don't get just from reading a poem or writing a paper about a poem," she said.
The competition, presented in partnership with the Nevada Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition.
The winner of the district competition will advance to the Nevada State Poetry Out Loud contest in Reno in March. In April, the Nevada champion will compete in the national finals in Washington, DC, where $50,000 in awards and school prizes will be distributed.
Attendance at 88 Cups & More is free and open to the public, although seating is limited. It is located at 1663 Lucerne Street in the Minden Village.
A list of approved poems for the students' use is online at www.poetryoutloud.org. For further information, call Susan Van Doren at 781-9508.
IF YOU GO:
What: District finals for Poetry Out Loud
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: 88 Cups & More, 1663 Lucerne Street, Minden
Info: Free admission, seating is limited