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Robert Peralta has a passion for public speaking and can capture an audience's full attention.

His skill in this area was on full display Feb. 1 when he took the top prize at the 11th Annual Los Angeles County Poetry Out Loud contest.

Peralta recited Li-Young Lee's “Gift” and Robert Creeley’s "Self-Portrait," besting 15 other students from throughout the county who competed in the event held at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.

"I always liked that you can make a poem personal through a stage performance,” said Peralta, a senior at Glendale High School (Glendale USD). 

LACOE organizes Poetry Out Loud in partnership with the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. The national arts education program encourages the study of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition.

Runner up Clement Decker of St. Monica Academy will represent Los Angeles County at the California State Finals, scheduled for March 18-19 in Sacramento, as Peralta will not be able to attend. The National Finals will be held April 23-25 in Washington, D.C.

Click here for more information about Poetry Out Loud. 

Click here to watch highlights of the event. 

Photo: Shannon Wilkins, LACOE Visual and Performing Arts coordinator, poses with 2018 Poetry Out Loud winner Robert Peralta (right) and runner-up Clement Decker. Wilkins organized the event and presented the awards.

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