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This year’s Poetry Out Loud winners in the annual poetry recitation contest are from left to right Aiden Powers (first place), Luke Lerch and Aidn Lunder (tied for third), and Echo Kassell, (second place). Photo by Meg Upton

Quincy High School Senior wins Poetry Out Loud competition

   Quincy Junior Senior High School senior Aiden Powers won this year’s Poetry Out Loud competition, which took place Sunday, Jan. 29 at Plumas Arts Gallery. He recited the poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth.

   The judges were impressed with his performance and all of the 13 students who showed up in the late morning for the annual contest.

   The winner receives a $500 prize and the chance to represent Plumas County at the state level in March in a virtual competition. At that point, Powers will have to memorize two additional poems to compete.

   The second place winner was Lake Almanor Christian School sophomore Echo Kassell, reciting Kevin Young’s poem “I am Trying to Break Your Heart.” Kassell was awarded $300. It’s the first year that school has participated in the contest and they brought three participants.

   Third place the judges announced was much harder to decide so they awarded both Indian Valley Academy freshman Adin Lunder and QHS sophomore Luke Lerch a tied third place with each receiving $200 for their efforts. Lunder recited A.E. Stallings poem “Fishing” while Lerch recited Percy Bysshe Shelly’s classic “Ozymandias.”

   Poetry Out Loud is managed and funded by California Arts Council and funded partially by the National Endowment of the Arts and sponsored in part by the national Poetry Foundation and their educational endowment. The California Arts Council partners with local arts organizations to do outreach and to host the competition annually.

   Plumas Arts has held the competition for seven years at the end of January in the Plumas Arts Gallery and invites all high school students in the county to participate.

   Plumas County high schools that participated in the contest this year were year were Quincy Junior Senior High School, Chester Junior Senior High School, Indian Valley Academy, and Lake Almanor Christian School.

   QHS have won the competition for the last four years and five out of six years the competition has been in the county. Many cite English teacher Erica Perdue’s enthusiasm for the event as a driving force in participation from QHS.

   Plumas Arts Gallery was packed solid with well-wishers and support for the event. This year’s event was the biggest one since 2019.

This year’s Plumas County Poetry Champion, Aiden Powers, recites “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” to a standing room only crowd. Photo by Meg Upton

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