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The Arts

Three Windham County students to compete in state poetry competition

Students from Vermont Academy, Twin Valley Middle High School, and Brattleboro Union High School will travel to the Barre Opera House on March 8 to compete in the 2018 Vermont Poetry Out Loud state competition.

They will join students from 34 Vermont high schools representing 11 counties to vie for the State Championship in the national poetry recitation competition. The state winner will compete in the National Competition in April.

“The Poetry Out Loud program not only connects students to poets and poetry, it helps students develop transferable skills like communication and analysis that prepare them for college, career, and life,” Troy Hickman, Vermont Arts Council education programs manager, said in a news release.

These students are already champions, having won their high school’s competition and thus a spot in the state competition. The students are Caitlyn McDermott of Vermont Academy, William Florence of Twin Valley Middle High School, and Zen Muhammed of Brattleboro Union High School.

This year, 40 high schools and more than 5,200 students participated in classroom contests, with winners proceeding to school competitions. Each winner at the school level will recite at the semifinals in Barre. From there, 10 students will be selected to compete in the finals on March 15 at the Elley-Long Music Center in Colchester.

The finals will be aired live on the Vermont PBS website and then broadcast on Vermont PBS on March 29 at 7 p.m. The winner of the Vermont State Competition then goes to the National Finals in Washington, D.C., where he or she will compete against champions from every state in the country.

The Poetry Out Loud program was created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, and is administered statewide by the Vermont Arts Council. Now in its 12th year, Poetry Out Loud has inspired hundreds of thousands of American high school students to discover and commit to memory classic and contemporary poetry.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #449 (Wednesday, March 7, 2018). This story appeared on page B3.

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