Cobb County teen overcomes shyness, wins national poetry title - CBS46 News

Cobb County teen overcomes shyness, wins national poetry title

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Samara Huggins (Source: National Endowment for the Arts) Samara Huggins (Source: National Endowment for the Arts)
Source: National Endowment for the Arts Source: National Endowment for the Arts
Source: Whitefield Academy Source: Whitefield Academy
COBB COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

Samara Huggins, an 18-year-old senior at Whitefield Academy in Mableton, didn’t always have much self-confidence.

“If she has to talk with one person, that’s not her favorite thing to do,” said Andrea Blackwood, Samara’s English teacher, “but if you stand her in front of a mic in front of hundreds of people, she just blossoms.”

When Samara was a high school freshman, Blackwood realized Samara had a gift of reciting poetry. Each year, she did well in a contest called Poetry Out Loud, created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

“It’s not acting,” Samara said. “You can’t be the speaker and perform in front of the audience. You have to be the words that the speaker speaks.”

In Washington D.C. last month, out of 310,000 high school students across the country, Samara won the national title – and a $20,000 prize, part of which she’ll use toward college at Pratt Institute in New York where she’ll study fashion design and English.

“I think that this has definitely helped me grow as a person,” she said. “I’ve seen myself come out of my shell because I know that I’m able to talk to a bunch of people at once and command a room, so it built my confidence.”

Blackwood said the competition also has made Samara more confident with her own writings.

“Poetry Out Loud has given her a confidence to do that,” Blackwood said, “and that’s a beautiful thing to watch.”

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