The Tuolumne County finals for Poetry Out Loud will take place Saturday, Feb. 9, in downtown Sonora.

Eight students from Don Pedro, Gold Rush, Sonora and Summerville high schools will participate in the competition, and the winner will advance to the California State Poetry Out Loud contest in Sacramento on March 10-11.

All students will compete in at least two rounds on Saturday, and each must perform one pre-20th century poem. Poems are chosen from an anthology of 500 on the Poetry Out Loud website. The winner will be chosen from third-round finalists.

The event will begin at 3:30 p.m. at the Sonora Inn Conference Room, 160 S. Washington St. Admission is free, although seating is limited, and refreshments will be provided during an intermission.

The state contest will be webcast, and the winner will advance to the Poetry Out Loud National Finals April 30 through May 1 in Washington, D.C., where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be presented. Tuolumne County has had a finalist attend the D.C. event twice — Levi Lowe won the state competition in both 2015 and 2017.

The competition, presented in partnership with the California Arts Council ,the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. Over the past 14 years, Poetry Out Loud has reached more than 3 million students and 45,000 teachers from 10,000 schools nationwide.

For more information, contact Poetry Out Loud coordinator Holly Britton at (209) 770-7337 or TCA at (209) 532-2787.

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