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Preparing young poets

February 3, 2014

Last year’s Poetry Out Loud participants included (l-r) runner-up, Chelsea Chapelier, Ronni Siddall and Lacie Jones of Lone Pine High; Autumn Wilder, first place finisher Skyler Lish, Shayann Padilla and Brian Habbleton of Owens Valley High; and Courtney Beaudean of Bishop High. Photo by Charles James

Inyo County’s high school students are among thousands across the state working hard to interpret, memorize and recite classical poetry in preparation for the 2014 county and state finals of Poetry Out Loud, now in its ninth year.
The competition is organized through the California Arts Council and was created with the help of the National Endowment for the Arts to engage high school students in the presentation of poetry through memorization and performance.
This is the fourth year that Inyo County students will be participating. Local poet Eva Poole Gilson is currently in classrooms in Bishop, Big Pine, Owens Valley and Lone Pine, working with students on poem selection, articulation, tone and overall performance.
Last year’s Inyo County winner from Owens Valley High School, Skyler Lish, delighted the audience with her recitation of David Kirby’s “Broken Promises.” Inyo Council for the Arts will again be hosting the finals for its county competition this Friday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. Members of the community are encouraged to attend.
ICA School Arts Coordinator Liz McAteer is organizing the event and its judges for this year’s competition. The judges for 2014 are: Rose Sabo, English teacher at Palisades Glacier High School; Keith Caldwell, Bishop City administrator; LeeAnn Rasmusen, owner of Coldwell Banker; and George Lozito, former Inyo County Superintendent of Schools.
Inyo County is one of 35 counties participating in this statewide competition, with more than 40,000 high school students throughout California competing in their school competitions. County winners will move forward to the California State competition, to be held in Sacramento on March 16-17.
Each state-level final competition will award $1,000 in cash prizes. Each champion at the state level will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete for the national championship held April 28-30.

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