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Congratulations to two-time state winner, Haley Bryan! Haley, a Grant County High School senior, won her second Poetry Out Loud state title in March, 2017, and will now compete in National competition April 25-26, 2017, at George Washington University in Washington D.C.

Miss Bryan has a love for poetry that has been reflected throughout her high school career. During each of her four years at Grant County High School she has won the local GCHS Poetry Out Loud competition and has represented her school at the state level. In 2015, and now 2017, she earned first place in the state of Kentucky and the opportunity to compete at Nationals.

The Poetry Out Loud competition was created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation to encourage students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. The program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Since 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach more than 3 million students and 50,000 teachers from 10,000 schools from every state, Washington, DC, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Poetry Out Loud was introduced to Grant County Schools by Mr. Scott Gibbons in 2010, with Ms. Sarah Haynes assuming leadership in 2016-2017.

Participants in the Poetry Out Loud competition each select and prepare in advance pieces chosen from Poetry Out Loud’s online anthology of more than 800 poems. At the competition, participants perform their selections while being judged on the complexity and length of the selection, plus the participant’s accuracy in recitation, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, understanding and interpretation of the poem, stage presence and overall performance.

For this year’s state and national performances, Miss Bryan chose:

“Hap” by Thomas Hardy

“Please Don’t” by Tony Hoagland, and

“Self Portrait” by Chase Twitchell

The competition calls for a great deal of technical accuracy, but winning also depends on the participant’s ability to understand and communicate the meaning of the poem. Miss Bryan notes, however, that winning is not what motivates her. “Winning is not really even in my mind. I just want to engage in the poem’s meaning and share that with the audience. Your own interest in the work really does show; you can’t do it (successfully) if you don’t enjoy it.”

As state champion, Miss Bryan and a chaperone will travel to Washington D.C. in an all-expense-paid trip. Haley has chosen to take GCHS Counselor, Nicole Davis, with her. In 2015 she was one of the few public school students to compete in national competition, which was of significance to her. “I realize many people at Grant County High School have helped me, and taking Mrs. Davis is a way of showing my appreciation.”

While in Washington DC she will participate in a congressional breakfast where she will have the opportunity to meet with legislators from Kentucky and share her views on education, the arts, and more.

Haley will compete against the winners from all 50 states and 3 provinces, with a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends – including a $20,00 scholarship for the winner – being awarded at the the National Finals. Fortunately, she enters the 2017 National Competition much more confident, as she is now familiar with the surroundings and is more comfortable with her ability to deliver what the judges want. We also have every confidence in Miss Bryan. We congratulate her upon her success thus far and wish her continued success as she represents the Commonwealth of Kentucky -- and Grant County High School -- in Washington, D. C.

Haley is the daughter of Chad and Teresa Bryan of Dry Ridge.

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