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Students win regional poetry contest
poets Cheyenne and Nahla
Cheyenne Waller and Nahla Shepherd are headed to the state Poetry Out Loud competition. - photo by Photo provided.

Two seniors from Liberty County captured two of the three slots to advance from regional to state Poetry Out Loud competition.

Seniors Cheyenne Waller and Nahla Shepherd recited "The Gaffe" by CK Williams, "Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou, "More Lies" by Karin Gotshall and "Carnival" by Rebecca Lindenberg at the regional competition in McRae on Feb. 10.

Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation competition that encourages students to learn poetry through memorization.

Participants choose poems from a database and compete against others while practicing public speaking, poetic analysis, and building self-confidence through performing.

There were 20 competitors at regional and only three advanced to state.

Marilyn Hampton, Bradwell’s coordinator for the program, said it is known for intense competitors who start in classrooms and advance as far as the national platform in Washington, D.C.

"The competition was stiff, but my goal is to put Liberty County on the map and cultivate students full of ingenuity," Hampton said.

If Waller and Shepherd win at state they will receive $200 and all-expenses-paid trips with a chaperone to the national competition. The top state winner’s school receives $500 to buy poetry books. The first runner-up in each state also receives $100, and $200 for his or her school. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends go to students and their schools annually.

The state competition is March 11 in Atlanta, preceded by a workshop on March 3.

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