Kate Linggi, winner of the San Diego County’s Poetry Out Loud competition. Photo credit: Courtesy

A senior at Academy of Our Lady of Peace in North Park took first place in the countywide Poetry Out Loud competition and will represent San Diego at the upcoming state finals.

Kate Linggi placed first, followed by Sarah Datta of Canyon Crest Academy.

Write Out Loud – an organization founded in 2007 to inspire and entertain by reading short stories aloud for live audiences – coordinates the program locally.

Linggi will continue to the virtual California Poetry Out Loud State Finals on March 11-12. The state winner will move on to represent the Golden State in the national finals in Washington, D.C.

A total of $50,000 in awards and school/organizational stipends will be given at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, including a $20,000 award for the national champion, $10,000 for second place and $5,000 for third place.

An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Out Loud encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance and competition.

California’s Poetry Out Loud is the largest event of its kind in the U.S., and has grown steadily since its inception.

In addition to coordinating Poetry Out Loud for high school students, Write Out Loud provides the San Diego community with eight other programs serving over 30,000 people annually.

These include TwainFest, a free family literary festival each August in Old Town, and PoeFest, a celebration of Edgar Allan Poe and literature of the macabre, each October.

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