COVID-19 canceled the live Poetry Out Loud state competition that was to be held at the State Capitol March 14.

The directive was given that each county needed to video their county champion and download the three poems to Sacramento.

Hayfork’s team rallied for Trinity champion Sunshine Montgomery, with coach Becky Stetson and technical specialist Jonathon Daniels braving a storm warning to video Sunshine’s performance at Hayfork High School.

Sunshine was dressed for success with her hair newly colored in streaks of blue and purple, artistically accenting her pale blue denim jacket, plaid pants and combat boots.

While her performance was flawless, I was moved by her extraordinary poise and visceral understanding of each poem.  

I asked Sunshine why she chose to volunteer for the POL Program.  

“To overcome my fear,” said Sunshine. “Last year my friends did the program but I didn’t, couldn’t. I decided that I was not going to allow my fear to control me. Poetry for me, is the most unique and fascinating way that someone can express themselves. With poetry, you can make a soul connection with someone you’ve never met; you can feel what others feel deep in your heart.”

While Sunshine delivered a stellar performance, the winner of the 2020 POL state competition was Eden Getahun of Sacramento County. You can learn more about the POL program and enjoy the performances on the Trinity County Arts Council website,

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