AUBURN — The St. Dominic Regional High School “Poetry Out Loud” finals were held on Jan. 11. Two finalists were selected from each class. Each finalist was required to present two poems from memory to the entire student body.

The first place winner was Melissa Ulin, class of 2012, who recited “Cartoon Physics, Part One” by Nick Flynn. Her brother, Steve Ulin, class of 2010, was the runner-up.

Winners will advance from the school wide competition to the state competition and ultimately to the National Finals. Each winner at the state level will receive $200 and an all expenses paid trip to Washington to compete for the national championship.

The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. A runner-up in each state will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends at the National Finals will be awarded to the winners.

“All of our students worked hard through this competition,” said Principal Donald Fournier. “The judges had their hands full deciding who would move on to the state wide competition. As always, we are very proud of our Saints.”

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation have partnered with State Arts Agencies of the United States to support the expansion of “Poetry Out Loud,” which encourages the nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. The  program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.

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