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Xenia teen wins poetry recitation state title


XENIA — Hiba Loukssi, a Xenia High School senior, won the Poetry Out Loud state championship March 10.

Loukssi — who recited “Author’s Prayer” by Ilya Kaminsky, “There Are Birds Here” by Jamaal May, and “The Paradox” by Paul Laurence Dunbar — was one of nine who qualified for the state competition and earned an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the nationals May 8-10.

The national champion will receive a $20,000 cash prize.

Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a program funded by National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, and is administered in partnership with state arts agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. The 18-year-old program encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. POL helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary heritage and contemporary life.

Finalists came from all over the state, including students from Toledo, Stewart, Cincinnati, and Lisbon.