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Release: Poetry Out Loud Winner Advances to State

John F. Kennedy High School Student Wins Competition

SCOE Press Release

Contact: Xanthi Soriano, Executive Director, Communications
Phone: (279) 789-1601 • Email:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, February 16, 2023


Sacramento, CA –The Sacramento County Office of Education announces Alex Yue from John F. Kennedy High School (Sacramento City USD) as the winner of the 2023 Sacramento County Poetry Out Loud competition. Julia Smith from Elk Grove High School (Elk Grove USD) was selected as the Sacramento County runner-up. Yue will now represent Sacramento County in this year’s California Poetry Out Loud competition, which will be held virtually in March.

The Sacramento County winner, Alex Yue, chose to recite “Filling Station” by Elizabeth Bishop and “The Conqueror Worm” by Edgar Allan Poe. Runner-up Julia Smith recited “Miss You. Would Like to Grab That Chilled Tofu We Love.” by Gabrielle Calvocoressi, and “The Coming Woman” by Mary Weston Fordham.

“In today’s complex world, our voices and feelings can easily become lost whereas poetry lends guidance and the chance to be heard,” said Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon. “Poetry fosters trust and empathy in the classroom, at school, and within our community.”

During the two-round county competition, five participants took turns reciting two poems of their choosing. The finals were held at Rosemont High School on February 23. The recitations were scored by a panel of judges.


  • Isis Fowler, Inderkum High School (Natomas USD)
  • Samantha La, Natomas Charter School (Natomas USD)
  • Leah Nelson, Grant Union High School (Twin Rivers USD)
  • Julia Smith, Elk Grove High School (Elk Grove USD)
  • Alex Yue, John F. Kennedy High School (Sacramento City USD)

About Poetry Out Loud

The Sacramento County Poetry Out Loud competition encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. The program provides students with the opportunity to perform poetry in English classes. Modeled after the National Spelling Bee structure, students start by competing in their local schools. The winners progress to regional and state competitions, with state winners competing at the national level. Poetry Out Loud was launched nationwide in 2006.