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Nipomo High School student headed to Poetry Out Loud state finals

Listen to Graciela Maldonado recite "Hysteria"

Nipomo High School student Graciela Maldonado recites the poem "Hysteria" by Dionsio D. Martinez at the San Luis Obispo Poetry Out Loud competition on Feb. 10, 2017 in San Luis Obispo.
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Nipomo High School student Graciela Maldonado recites the poem "Hysteria" by Dionsio D. Martinez at the San Luis Obispo Poetry Out Loud competition on Feb. 10, 2017 in San Luis Obispo.

A Nipomo High School junior will represent San Luis Obispo County at a state poetry recital competition in March.

Graciela Maldonado, 16, earned the highest score at the countywide Poetry Out Loud competition Friday night at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in San Luis Obispo.

At the event, organized by Arts Obispo, the San Luis Obispo County Arts Council, she wowed a five-judge panel by reciting “Hysteria” by Dionisio D. Martinez and “Try to Praise the Mutilated World” by Adam Zagajewski.

Maldonado, participating in the county finals for the third year, narrowly edged out Morro Bay High School senior and first-time competitor Zainab Bhatti, 17. As runner-up, Bhatti won a $200 scholarship.

Maldonado won a $500 scholarship and a spot in the state Poetry Out Loud finals, March 12 and 13 in Sacramento. There, she’ll compete against students from across California for cash prizes and an all-expenses-paid trip to the national Poetry Out Loud finals in April in Washington, D.C.

Launched by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in 2006, Poetry Out Loud challenges high schoolers to study, memorize and recite poems. This year, approximately 4,100 students at eight San Luis Obispo County schools took the challenge.

For more information, visit www.artsobispo.org/arts-in-education/poetry-out-loud.

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