Twelve students from six local high schools participated in the Placer County “Poetry Out Loud” competition, held Feb. 18 at the State Theatre in Auburn. Skyler Sousa, a senior at Colfax High School, was named runner-up. Colfax High was also represented at the competition by student Gabi Roberts. Audience members enjoyed the students’ poetry recitations, along with musical interludes by Giorgi Khokhobashvili during scoring breaks. Rick Brown, retired Colfax High School teacher, acted as emcee. Truckee High School senior Helen Bansen took first place and advances to the state finals to be held March 25-26 in Sacramento. The Poetry Out Loud program, sponsored by PlacerArts, seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by capitalizing on the latest trends in poetry: recitation and performance. Poetry Out Loud competitions start in the classroom, then at the school, region, state, and national finals, similar to the structure of the spelling bee. The national initiative is part of an attempt to bring literary arts to students.