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Oakhurst student to compete in state poetry finals

Courtesy of Madera County Arts Council

Far left, first place winner Chloe DePledge of Glacier High School in Oakhurst stands with other local Poetry Out Loud contestants earlier this month. Beside her, from left, are Carter Coleman of Glacier (2nd place), Marissa Escobar of Madera South High School, Suena Garcia of Madera High School, Matthew Gutierrez of MHS, Sequoia Chapman of Endeavor High School (3rd place) and Freddy Morales of Endeavor.


Chloe DePledge of Glacier High School in Oakhurst will represent Madera County in Sacramento at the state competition of Poetry Out Loud on March 12-13.

Chloe won first place and $300 with her recitation of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s “Let the Light Enter” and John Keats’ “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” at a regional competition Feb. 11.

She faced competitors from Glacier, Madera, Madera South, and Endeavor high schools in dramatically reciting two poems from memory at the event. Her classmate Carter Coleman claimed second place and $200 after presenting Richard Wilbur’s “Advice to a Prophet” and Nick Flynn’s “Cartoon Physics, Part 1.” Both Glacier students were coached by Kaylen Friesen.

Sequoia Chapman of Endeavor seized third place and $100 with Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” and Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade” He was coached by Betty Klein.

Sierra Telephone and Internet sponsored the prize money given.

All competitors were coached by their teachers and local Poet Laureate Stephen Barile, a professor of English at the Madera Community College Center. Students are not only judged on accuracy, but also on their stage presence and presentation.

The Madera County Arts Council will be helping with transportation costs for Chloe to compete in Sacramento. If she prevails, the national contest for $20,000 will be in Washington, DC, on April 24-26. Second and third place winners will receive $10,000 and $5,000 scholarships.

Poetry Out Loud is an annual national recitation competition founded in 2006 by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. The Madera County Arts Council hosted the regional contest with help from the California Arts Council and the California Poets in the Schools.

The Madera County Arts Council is a nonprofit agency formed in 1982 and sponsors art education for county youths and adults. In March. Visit for information on upcoming events.

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