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Minden woman takes third at Poetry Out Loud

Staff Reports
Anastasia Chevalier, Eakjot Sekhon and Lara Cassity.
Nick Higman Photography.

Douglas High School graduate Lara Cassity placed third in the state in the Poetry Out Loud Competition.

The lifelong Carson Valley resident won the Jan. 29 competition at Douglas High with a balanced approach, a couple of jokes to put judges at ease, followed by “Don’t Bother the Earth Spirit” by Joy Harjo. For her second recitation, she reached back to the English Civil War for “The Glories of Our Blood and State” by James Shirley.

Robert McQueen High sophomore Eakjot Sekhon won the ompetition. Anastasia Chevalier, a sophomore at Virginia City High School, placed second.

More than 4,000 high school students from 27 schools Nevada participated in the program that began in September 2019 and concluded with a recent virtual competition.

Winning the state competition was a surprise, Sekhon said, even though she had won the local and district competitions leading up to the state finals.

“It was really surreal,” Sekhon said. “The other girls were amazing — I thought ‘I’m probably going to get third.’”

But she won — and was awarded $1,750. Her school also received $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. Sekhon encourages students to enter the competition this fall.

“If you don’t think you’ll get far enough,” she said, “just try and see.”

A dynamic educational program, Poetry Out Loud begins at the local level as high school students learn about, memorize and finally present poetry – out loud. Participants advance from school to district competitions and then to the Nevada State Finals. Next year’s competition will begin in September.

Nevada Poetry Out Loud is a program of the Nevada Arts Council in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation with major support from NV Energy Foundation.