With expressive recitations of works by Emily Dickenson and Stephen Dunn, Harper Iles, a sophomore at Pinole Valley High, won Contra Costa County’s 2023 Poetry Out Loud event at Las Lomas High School on Saturday, Feb. 11.
The win earned Iles a $200 scholarship and she will now compete at the state level.
Keyla Morales, a junior at Contra Costa School for the Performing Arts in Walnut Creek, earned second place and received a $100 scholarship.
The 2023 Contra Costa County Poetry Out Loud event was hosted by Contra Costa County Office of Education and Contra Costa County, serving as the countywide culmination of the 1,200 students who participated in Poetry Out Loud at their respective schools and districts.
Six participants faced off at Saturday’s morning event, including Kinger Huang of Las Lomas High, Enzo Martinucci of El Cerrito High, Aaron Yi of Independence High and Isabella Zendejas of Deer Valley High.
“Poetry Out Loud is so much more than just a poetry reading,” Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools Lynn Mackey said. “Studying and performing poetry in front of a live audience gives students confidence, comprehension, and life skills they will draw upon throughout a lifetime. As a poetry major, I enjoyed the competition and was inspired by these scholars. Thank you to the coach, volunteer judges, and teachers who helped these students thrive on a competitive level.”