DHS student third at Poetry Out Loud state finals
Lea Gifford, a junior at Douglas High School, finished third at the Nevada Poetry Out Loud state finals Saturday at KNPB Channel 5 Studios in Reno.
Yerington High School’s Gabrielle Hunt won and will represent the state of Nevada at the Poetry Out Loud national finals in Washington, D.C.
Poetry Out Loud is a program of the Nevada Arts Council, presented in partnership with National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. NEA Chairman Jane Chu attended Saturday’s program in Reno.
Hunt, a junior at YHS and the daughter of Todd and Kaylene Hunt, prevailed from a field of 12 regional finalists.
Cache Black, a junior at Elko High School, finished in second place.
All 12 poets recited two poems in preliminary rounds with the top three advancing to read a third poem in the final round. Hunt’s selections included “The Nail,” by C.K. Williams; “The Mortician in San Francisco,” by Randall Mann and “The Children’s Hour” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
“It took three years, but I finally did it,” said a smiling Hunt, who finished second last year and fourth as a freshman in 2015. “This year, I chose poems largely on the impact they would have during performance. I only kept one poem that I’d performed in previous years, ‘The Nail.’ The other two were ones I felt could really speak to the audience and myself as a performer.”
As the Poetry Out Loud state champion, Hunt earns $1,000, wins another $1,000 for her school to support literary programs, and travels with a chaperone to Washington, D.C. to compete for $50,000 in scholarships and school prizes at the National Poetry Out Loud finals, held April 25-26.
For placing second and third, Black and Gifford each receive a $500 award and $500 for their schools to support literary programs.
An educational program, Poetry Out Loud begins at the local level as students learn about, memorize and finally present poetry — out loud. More than 2,800 Nevada high school students participated this year. Participants advance from school to district competitions and then to the Nevada state finals.
The other district finalists in Saturday’s competition included:
Carson City: Emily Matuska, sophomore, Carson High School
Clark County: Gillian Lajda, sophomore, East Career and Technical Academy
Humboldt County: Tanner Ames, senior, Albert Lowry High School
Lincoln County: Nathanael Frehner, senior, Lincoln County High School
Nevada Virtual: Erica Jean Peterson, sophomore, Nevada Virtual Academy
Nye County: Octavio Jesus Maldonado, junior, Beatty High School
Pershing County: Christopher J. Wilbur, junior, Pershing County High School
Storey County: Pandora Arredondo, junior, Virginia City High School
Washoe County: Skye Matuzak, sophomore, Truckee Meadows Community College High School
For information, go to nac.nevadaculture.org.