Douglas student among 6 competing to be Nevada Poetry Out Loud champion |

Douglas student among 6 competing to be Nevada Poetry Out Loud champion

By Guy Clifton Travel Nevada
Vanessa Aponte of Las Vegas recites a poem on her way to winning the 2019 Nevada Poetry Out Loud state finals. Students compete Saturday to determine this year’s champions.
Guy Clifton/TravelNevada

What started in September with a field of more than 4,400 Nevada High School students has been narrowed to the final six who will compete Saturday for the title of Nevada Poetry Out Loud Champion.

The 15th annual competition, free and open to the public, will be held at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts in Reno. The competition starts at noon.

For the first time in its history, the event will be live-streamed on You Tube at this address:

The competition started at the local level during the fall school year and followed with district competitions in recent weeks. The student winning the state finals will represent Nevada at the National Poetry Out Loud Competition in Washington, D.C., in April.

“We are thrilled to be celebrating 15 years of Poetry Out Loud – a program encouraging Nevada students in grades 9 through 12 to learn about poetry through memorization and performance while building self-confidence, public speaking skills and a love of the written and spoken word,” said Tony Manfredi, executive director of the Nevada Arts Council.

This year’s finalists are:

Lara Cassity, senior, Douglas High School, representing Douglas County

Soledad Negrete, Senior, Elko High School, representing Elko County

Whitney Hegstad, freshman, Yerington High School, representing Lyon County

Anastasia Chevalier, sophomore, Virginia City High School, representing Storey County

Eakjot Sekhorn, Sophomore, Robert McQueen High School, representing Washoe County

Aylin Mendoza, Senior, East Career and Technical Academy, representing Clark County

Focusing on our rich literary heritage and contemporary life through memorization and performance of classic and contemporary poetry, Nevada Poetry Out Loud is a program of the Nevada Arts Council, presented in partnership with National Endowment for the Arts, The Poetry Foundation, the NV Energy Foundation, Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Sierra Arts Foundation, SoSu TV, KUNR, Nevada Department of Education, Nevada school districts and Cultural Alliance Nevada. For information on the state finals, contact Maryjane Dorofachuk, at (702) 486-3738, or visit