Minot High School-Magic City Campus senior Cassie Stauffer wasn't expecting to win this year's Poetry Out Loud contest at the school last week.
Stauffer said she was hoarse from cheerleading the night before and was a little nervous. But she read Ella Wheeler Wilcox's poem "Solitude" with so much expression that she was chosen as the winner. The poem, Wilcox's most famous, starts with "Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone."
Stauffer said she picked the poem because she liked the poem and she wanted to encourage people to think deeply about life.
"I liked the last stanza," she said, which includes a line about a "large and lordly train."
Stauffer will represent Minot at the state competition in March in Bismarck. Last year the state winner was from Minot and went on to compete in the national competition.
The second-place winner was Minot High student Chandler Vercher, who read Vachel Lindsey's "Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight."
Local winners received gift certificates to Barnes and Noble.
The Poetry Out Loud competition is a national competition. Students chose their poems from a selection of works that were picked by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Poetry Foundation.
It was administered by the Council on the Arts.
Language arts teacher Jake Thomas said twice as many students tried out for the competition as last year. He thinks it makes students more aware of poetry.