Bellingham student Zoe Peterson in top two at 'Poetry Out Loud' competition

Bellingham High School student Zoe Peterson earned one of the two top spots in Northwest Educational Service District 189’s Poetry Out Loud Regional Final which was held on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at the Burlington Library in Burlington.

Ms. Peterson, of Squalicum High School, recited A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and I Am the People by Carl Sandburg. She will join Sommer Harris of South Whidbey High School as the two (out of 10) regional students who now advance to the  state finals, scheduled for Saturday, March 10, at the Rialto Theatre in Tacoma. Twelve winners from around the state will participate in the State Final. The winner will represent Washington State in the National Finals in Washington D.C., May 13-15. Additional participants in the regional event included Melanie Bazen from St. Paul’s Academy, Amelia Brown from Burlington-Edison High School, Elisa Franssen from Anacortes High School, Hannah Gould from Highland Christian School, Caroline Haywood from Darrington High School, Jeffrey Levine from Mount Vernon High School, Emily Pittis from Sehome High School, and Sam Tichota from Stanwood High School.

Poetry Out Loud is sponsored regionally by the Northwest Educational Service District 189 in Anacortes, and across the state by the Washington State Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the Poetry Foundation. This is the sixth year that high school students in Washington State were a part of Poetry Out Loud, a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry. More than 150,000 students across the country were expected to participate this year. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals will award a total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends, with a $20,000 college scholarship for the National Champion.

See for more information on this national program or visit to learn more about the local competition.

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