Poetry success for American Samoa student

Chaperone and school counsellor Jessebeth Lynn Ropeti, Hazel Ipuniuesea Leo and Hazel’s father Tupuivao Alofau Leo after the state competition.

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An American Samoa student has won the state finals of the Poetry Out Loud competition for the second consecutive year.

Hazel Ipuniuesea Leo, a junior at Iakina Adventist Academy, competed alongside 10 other high school students in the state championships. She placed first overall after reciting the poems “Propositions” by Stephen Dunn“, Siren Song” by Margaret Atwood and “Friendship After Love” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. This earned her a spot in the nationals, which were held in Washington DC earlier this month, and were won by a student from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida.

The Poetry Out Loud competition is a contest in which students across the United States recite poetry of their choice with much enthusiasm, excitement and poise.

Outside of the classroom, Hazel serves as secretary for Sabbath school at the Alofau Adventist church, and is an active and dedicated Pathfinder and youth. She dedicates her poetry success to her village of supporters from her family and friends, and especially to God. 

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