After two semi-final rounds of reading poetry, Chloe Keating waited to hear if she would be among the eight high school students who advanced to the Poetry Out Loud state finals.

The event, held Saturday at the Myrna Loy Center, determined who among this select group received an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national finals. The contest was created by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation and partners with the Montana Arts Council.

But in the end, the judges favored others’ recitations. Anaka Ronan, a Helena High School senior, would advance to the national competition through her recitation of “Novel” by Arthur Rimbaud.

Keating, like the other 17 high-school students in the semi-final round, had sandwiches for lunch in the building’s lobby before returning to the auditorium where they would be greeted with applause and the judges’ decision that would produce the finalists.

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