By Don Nelson

Mackenzie Woodworth, a Liberty Bell High School senior, will represent the Methow Valley at the Washington State Poetry Out Loud Championships in Tacoma in March. She was one of two students selected to advance to the state championships from the Eastern Regional Championships in Spokane on Feb. 1.

The Washington state winner goes to the national finals in Washington, D.C.

Woodworth won the sixth annual Poetry Out Loud competition for Liberty Bell High School and Independent Learning Center students at The Merc Playhouse in December, reciting “I Go Back to May 1937” by Sharon Olds and “Memory as a Hearing Aid” by Tony Hoagland.

December’s competition at The Merc featured 11 students from Liberty Bell High School and the Independent Learning Center. The competitors advanced from previous rounds in their high school classes. Each competitor recited two poems selected from a list provided by the national Poetry Out Loud organization. The contest was coordinated by Liberty Bell English teacher Kelly Grayum. Thome George was the students’ performance coach. The Public School Funding Alliance and Methow Arts provide grants to support a performance coach.

Previous winners in the local competition were Mia Stratman in 2016, Lillian Cooley in 2015, Claire Waichler in 2014, Liam Daily in 2013 and the late Tom Zbyszewski in 2012.

The competition, presented in partnership with the Washington State Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, the Methow Valley Public School Funding Alliance and Methow Arts, is part of a national program that encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization.