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Lawton student heads to Washington, DC for poetry contest

[Source KSWO] [Source KSWO]

LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- A Lawton High school student has earned a spot in a national Poetry competition. 

She's headed to Washington D.C. April 25 to compete against 53 other students for a grand prize of twenty thousand dollars.

That student is Lawton High school junior, Kristine Guerrero.


She won first place at her school's Poetry Out Loud competition and after placing in the district and state competition, she's off to nationals.


Poetry Out Loud is a national initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation that encourages high school students to learn more about poetry through memorization and performance.

"It's not just a performance. It's not just that,” said Kristine.

To Lawton High school junior Kristine 
Guerrero poetry is more than just memorizing words from a piece of paper.

"It's something where you learn what the poem is trying to say and you have to express that in your voice, your gestures, things like that,” said Kristine

Kristine said she developed a love for poetry her freshman year and the national Poetry Out Loud competition will give her a chance to showcase her passion.

"I didn't know I was capable of something like this,” said Kristine. “My mom she always says 'you have it, you're good, you're great at this' but it's mom so I was just like she's just saying that because she's my mom but, when I actually get up and have to say the poem I feel like I become someone different."

She chose the three poems she will recite at the competition from nine hundred poems on the Poetry Out Louds website.

Lawton High School teacher Terry Freeman said Kristine is the third student from Lawton High that has made it to nationals.

He and Kristine practice daily on perfecting her craft.

"We go over every word, every line, every look, every gesture,” said Freeman. “She's going to be magnificent."

Kristine will be judged in five areas during the competition---physical presence, voice, articulation, dramatic appropriateness, evidence of understanding and overall performance.

"You see in her eyes what her voice is telling you,” said Freeman. “You see in her look what the emotion is. In other words, she takes the voice of that poem and wears it like a glove. Perfect."

Kristine said her hope is to do her best in the competition and cherish an opportunity her parents, who were both raised outside the country didn't have.

"I'm blessed every single day,” said Kristine. “That I'm here at this school, the teachers are offering me all these things and I just have to take advantage of it because I want to make my parents proud.”


Kristine will take the stage at George Washington University April 25.


The top nine finalists will then advance to the finals competition April 26.


Both days will be webcast live at https://www.arts.gov/.

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