Claire Waichler, who finished a close second in last year’s Poetry Out Loud competition for Liberty Bell High School students, took first place in the third annual local contest held at The Merc Playhouse on Dec. 17.
Second place went to Rowan Post, while Amelia Eberline took third place among the 12 students who each read two poems in the competition.
Waichler recited “Very Large Moth” by Craig Arnold and “Not Guilty” by David Rivard. Contestants can choose from a wide variety of poems provided by the national Poetry Out Loud organization.
Waichler will compete in the Eastern Washington Regional Poetry Out Loud contest on Feb. 5 in Spokane. Post will be the alternate. The regional contest winner advances to the state finals in Olympia. The Washington state winner goes to the national finals in Washington, D.C., where $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be distributed.
Last year, Liberty Bell’s Liam Daily won the regional competition in Spokane.
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, performance and competition.