Zoe Wassman smiles after being announced winner of the first ever Poetry Out Loud contest at Skagway School. Wassman will be taking her recitation of Ai’s “Conversation” to the state competition in Juneau on March 11. English teacher Kent Fielding said he was impressed with all 18 high school students who participated. “They had poise, and for the most part got down the ideas, rhythm and tones of the poem,” he said. Fielding said Wassman won the night by capturing the emotions of sadness and fright in her poem. Al Weber and Richard Diechen also stood out, Fielding said. “Richard, the German, nailed the humor and satire in his poem,” Fielding said. Al recited Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan,” which Fielding said was the most difficult of the evening. “When Al was a freshman she was a student that I looked at and said, ‘this kid could win state in acting by the time she graduates’,” he said. “I have my fingers crossed she’ll prove me correct. I don’t like to be wrong.” – KE