GIRARD — Girard High School student Noah Sandford received first place in the Southeast Kansas Region 4 Poetry Out Loud high school poetry recitation contest.
The event was on Feb. 2 at Chanute Memorial Auditorium with contestants from Ft. Scott High School, St. Martin’s Academy in Fort Scott and Girard.
According to a release from Poetry Out Loud, Noah placed first in the event, which qualifies him to perform at the Poetry Out Loud state competition on March 2, in Salina. The Kansas state winner will advance to the National Final in Washington, DC.  
More than 350,000 high school students will take part in Poetry Out Loud this year. The Region 4 area encompasses 17 counties in southeast Kansas.
Each winner at the state level will receive $200 and an all-expenses-paid trip — with an adult chaperone — to Washington, DC, to compete at the National Finals. The state winner’s school will receive $500 for poetry materials. One runner-up in each state will receive $100; his or her school will receive $200 for the purchase of poetry materials, a release said.  
A total of $50,000 in awards and school 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, $5,000 for third place, and $1,000 for fourth place through twelfth places.
People can learn about the competition at www.poetryoutloud.org. Teachers who want to know more about how their students can participate should contact the Region 4 coordinator, Julie Aikins at jaikins711@gmail.com.