Yosemite High School sophomore Jazmin Jones, won county-wide Poetry Out Loud competition last Friday night.
Jones chose Kipling's "If" for her first presentation because, "It has a good message and touched my heart." Her second poem was "Broken Promises" by David Kirby.
"I'm usually a goody-two-shoes," she said, "so it was fun to find a poem on the website where I could yell 'you bastards' and get away with it," Jones said.
Jones, a member of YHS varsity swim team, practiced her poems while swimming. She won $250 and will compete against students from 25 other counties at the state finals on March 15 at the state senate chambers in Sacramento.
Second place was Yosemite High senior Alisa Choin. She recited "To the Ladies," an 18th century feminist poem by Lady Mary Chudleigh and "Chicago" by Carl Sandburg. She received $150.
Third place was Madera High School junior Kara Grimes who recited "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley and the emotional "The Mother" by Gwendolyn Brooks. She received $100.
Dr. Pamela Beecher, director of the Madera County Arts Council introduced the evening. Supervisor Tom Wheeler spoke about the importance of arts education and musician Anson Brown provided classical guitar accompaniment.
The event was hosted by Mary Lee Gowland, Madera County Coordinator for California Poets in the Schools, who worked with teachers at Yosemite, Glacier, Madera and Liberty High Schools, and selected school winners.
Poetry Out Loud was created by the National Endowment for the Arts to encourage the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance, and to help students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.
The program is administered by the Madera County Arts Council and the California Arts Council, with sponsorship provided by Sierra Telephone Company.
The national final will be held in April, in Washington D.C. where the winner will receive a $20,000 scholarship.
-- Mary Lee Gowland