‹‹ Colorado Matters

Once quiet and shy, an Overland H.S. student is reciting Poetry Out Loud in national semifinals

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13min 11sec
Amanda Tipton Photography
The Colorado state champion, Hana Kebede, a junior at Overland H.S. in Aurora, is competing this week in the national Poetry Out Loud semifinals in Washington, D.C.

There was a time when Hana Kebede struggled with public speaking -- "I would stutter, I would be nervous, I would quieten my voice," she said. That's not the case now for the 16-year-old junior at Overland High School in Aurora. A speech and debate class at the school helped Kebede come out of her shell. The same course also resulted in an invitation to the Colorado Poetry Out Loud event, part of a national competition. After winning the state crown, Kebede will compete tonight in the national semifinals in Washington, D.C.