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Auburn high school student is Placer County poetry champ

Poetry Out Loud contest runner-up also from Placer High
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Reciting works by American poets George Moses Horton and Ha Jin, Placer High School senior Arianna Aponte has emerged as the Placer County Poetry Out Loud champion.

Placer High picked up second-place laurels, too.

Kate Riccardelli, a Placer junior from Placer High, was selected runner-up in a competition presented by the Arts Council of Placer County.

Other schools taking part were Roseville’s John Adams Academy, and Lincoln, Colfax and Truckee high schools.

The event’s coordinator said the entrants left her awestruck.

“Once again, I am in awe of these high school students and their ability to lift the poem off the page and present it from their hearts, as if the poem has come from that very place inside them,” said Julie Valin, Poetry Out Loud coach and coordinator for the Placer County program.

The Arts Council of Placer County presented the regional finals Feb. 11 as part of the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest. Participants could take their pick from a list of more than 900 classic and contemporary poems to recite.

Aponte chose Horton’s “Early Affection” and Ha Jin’s “Ways of Talking.” Horton wrote and published poetry while still a slave on a tobacco plantation in North Carolina. Ha Jin is a Chinese-American poet and novelist who lives in Massachusetts.

The state competition is held in Sacramento between 45 county champions, with Aponte earning a berth because of her win at the local level.

Judges marked recitations on voice and articulation, evidence of understanding and accuracy. On the judging panel were poet and Auburn Journal “Homecoming” columnist Tricia Caspers, poet Terri Kent-Enborg and poet-editor Elizabeth Johnson. Aimee Murray served as accuracy judge.

Also competing were: Anna Chisholm, Megan Johnston, Brady Holmes (all of John Adams Academy), Cass Dalsey (Truckee), Chessah Fox, Ryan Hill (Placer), Kristin Pischel (Colfax) and Sabrina Desha (Lincoln).