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Halifax Poetry Out Loud winners advance to state

This week, all three of Halifax County High School’s Poetry Out Loud winners advanced to the state competition to be held in Richmond next month.  

For the state level competition, they have one month to select, memorize and polish a third poem before the March competition. 

After winning the local competition, the young women had two months to select and memorize a second poem for the regional competition. They chose to select more difficult poems for recitation at the second competition. 

Halifax was the only school to send three to the state, and coaches were thrilled when all three made it to the final state competition.  

Juniors Jessica Hinds and Sydney Little along with senior Keziah Cash, will be competing in Richmond for the state championship and have a chance to win $200 in cash prizes and a $500 stipend for Halifax County High School to purchase poetry books. 

“The level of [all] these students was just incredible, said Becky Donner, who coached the students with Mary Eanes. Both are retired English teachers.  

“People have no idea, when you just say ‘poetry recitation, the level of professionalism and polish needed to win,” Donner added.

The competition is fierce. One missed word or letter easily would knock out a student from the finals.

“They have worked hard for this opportunity. As coaches, we could not have asked for more,” said Amy Montgomery, a high school English teacher, Poetry Out Loud sponsor and assistant coach.  “We are excited and look forward to the next round of competition, and I am very grateful to Mrs. Donner and Mrs. Eanes for volunteering their coaching expertise.”   

If they win in March, they will have a chance to compete in the national competition in Washington D.C. and an opportunity to win a cash prize of $20,000.