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Competitions test Johnston students’ poetry knowledge

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SMITHFIELD — Students from several Johnston County Public Schools campuses put their poetry knowledge and skills to the test in the district’s Poetry Out Loud and original poem competitions.

High school students from the Johnston County Early College Academy, West Johnston High, Corinth Holders High and Smithfield-Selma High took part in the competitions at the A.G. Glenn Building in Smithfield on Jan. 15.

Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about literary history and contemporary life.

Johnston County Early College Academy student Seth Mabry was the winner of the Poetry Out Loud competition. Other participants in the competition were West Johnston High student Jenny Huynh, Corinth Holders High student Laura Wood and Smithfield-Selma High student Jenna Baker.

Poetry Out Loud contestants were evaluated on physical presence, voice and articulation, evidence of understanding, dramatic appropriateness, accuracy and overall performance.

Mabry will compete at the Poetry Out Loud state competition in Greensboro at the Triad Stage on Feb. 16.

Poetry Out Loud partners with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in American culture.

The original poem contest is sponsored by Johnston County Public Schools. Contestants in this portion of the program submitted an original poem for judging and recitation at the competition.

West Johnston High student Alex Johnson won the contest with her original work. Other participants included Johnston County Early College Academy student Mia Lopez-Ramos, Corinth Holders High student Steven Clark and Smithfield-Selma High student Alasa Bethea.