Kinston High sophomore Jasmine Jackson won the state title in the annual Poetry Out Loud competition in Greensboro on Saturday and will represent North Carolina at the nationals in May.
Jasmine, 15, finished first among 32 competitors in a contest that tests students’ skills in reciting poetry on the basis of articulation, dramatic presentation, physical presence and accuracy, among other criteria.
As the state winner, she will compete for a $20,000 scholarship against winners from the 49 other states and Puerto Rico in Washington, D.C.
Jasmine is the first state winner from Kinston High, although the school has produced several top 10 finishers during its eight years in the competition.
“She performed like a seasoned professional even though she is only 15,” Clay Raines, KHS drama teacher and Jasmine’s coach, said. “She had the audience enthralled with her whimsy and confidence. She was very determined to get this and it showed in her performance.”
To win, Jasmine had to recite two poems in the early rounds and then add a third for the final rounds. She chose “Obedience, Or The Lying Tale” by Jennifer Chang; “The Spider and the Fly” by Mary Howitt; and “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas.
Poems must meet certain criteria, with at least one being written prior to the 20th century and at least one being less than 25 lines. Contestants are also judged on each poem’s difficulty, which calls for some strategy in choosing poems and deciding the order of their recitation.