by: Contributed photo, POETRY OUT LOUD — Jon Lakey, right, 17, a senior at Sherwood High School, stands next to his advisor, Jared Jones, at the 2008 Oregon Poetry Out Loud competition, held March 15 at the Salem Public Library. Jones was one of 13 school-level winners out of the 2,000 Oregon students that competed in this year’s event.

Jon Lakey, 17, a Sherwood High School senior recently competed in the statewide Poetry Out Loud competition under the tutelage of his advisor, Jared Jones.

Lakey was one of 13 school-level winners out of 2,000 students that participated in this year's competition. He competed against the other school-level winners on March 15 in Salem and presented by The Oregon Arts Commission.

Sophia Soberon, 17, of Brookings-Harbor High School in Brookings, won the 2008 statewide Poetry Out Loud competition.

Poetry Out Loud is a collaborative project of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation and the Oregon Arts Commission.

As winner of the Oregon competition, Sophia wins $200 and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for herself and a chaperone. Her school receives a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.

Nicole Hernandez, 17, of Woodburn Arts and Communications Academy, was declared the state runner-up. Her prize is $100, with her school library receiving $200 for poetry purchases. Every participant received a hardbound copy of 'From Here We Speak,' an anthology of Oregon poetry edited by Primus and St. John and Ingrid Wendt and published by Oregon State University Press, personalized Poetry Out Loud bookplate.

In Washington, Sophia will represent Oregon against 52 other contestants from the states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. The national competition takes place April 28 - 29 at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium and awards a total of $44,000 in prize money to 12 finalists ($20,000 for the winner; $10,000 to the first runner up; $5,000 in to the second runner-up; and $1,000 each to the other nine finalists). Their schools receive another $500 for their] libraries. In all Poetry Out Loud awards more then $100,000 at state- and national-level contests.

Oregon had 2,000 students at 19 high schools participate in Poetry Out Loud this year; 13 schools sent winners to the state competition. All the state-level contestants prepared three poems from a 400-poem anthology provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Each recited two poems, with six finalists reading a third.

The contestants were judged by Oregon Poet Laureate Lawson Inada, poet Judith Barrington and Primus St. John, and theater director Scott Palmer. The criteria included accuracy, voice inflection, evidence of understanding, level of difficulty and eye contact.

The six state-level finalists were: Sophia Soberon, 17, Brookings-Harbor High School, Brookings (Artie Dingle, coordinator) Caren Sims, 17, The Center for Advanced Learning, Gresham (Rita Ramstad, coordinator) Claire Smith, 17, Hood River Valley High School (Regina Rafelson, coordinator) Senia Monger, 17, Veritas School, Newberg (Megan Hills, coordinator) Jasper Alto, 17, Metropolitan Learning Center, Portland (Steve Lambert, coordinator) Nicole Hernandez, 17, Woodburn Arts and Communications Academy (Desiree Kiesel, coordinator); with the remaining school-level winners being: Caitlyn McLauchlin, 15, Bandon High School (Ellen Howard, coordinator) Sarah Hansell, 16, Madison High School, Portland (Daniel Fredgant, coordinator) Erica Deffebach, 15, Northwest Academy, Portland (Brian Christopher, coordinator) Anna Wilson, 16, Crook County High School, Prineville (Anita Hoffman, coordinator) TiAnna Holt, 18, Salem Academy Christian (Sara Patrick, coordinator) Jon Lakey, 17, Sherwood High School (Jared Jones, coordinator) Danielle Mayberry, 16, South Medford High School (Clancy Rone, coordinator.)

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