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Local students compete in poetry

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Winner of the regional Poetry Out Loud competition, Brianna Gray (Photo courtesy of Mary McNeil).

Two local students emerge from a regional poetry contest and are heading to the state competition.

According to Quad City Arts Community Arts Director, Jessi Black, on Saturday, February 23rd, students from two local high schools placed in the “Poetry Out Loud” regional contest at Quad City Arts.

The winner of the regional competition was Brianna Gray from United Township High School and the runner-up was Shelby Hoffman from Orion High School.

The next step for these two students is to travel to the Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield, IL. to compete at the state level. Gray and Hoffman will join a group of 53 state competitors on Friday, March 8.

The winner of the state competition will win a trip to Washington, D.C. for the National Recitation Contest at the end of April, according to the Rock Island County Regional Office of Education.

The grand prize is a $20,000 award.

“I love poetry Out Loud because it has taught me how be confident in myself and that I am capable of great things,” said Gray. “It has also taught me how to better understand poetry and to figure out what the poets were thinking when they wrote.”

This will be Gray’s second trip to the state finals for “Poetry out Loud.”

“Poetry Out Loud” is presented by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.