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Student at Paul VI Wins Poetry Contest

The school community at Paul VI High knows Sean Pugerude as an outstanding actress and singer who dazzled audiences last month in the lead role of the musical, "Hello Dolly."

But she’s also a master of the spoken word and recently won the Regional Poetry Out Loud competition at the Signature Theater in Arlington. She competed against 16 people from 16 other schools.

"You recite poems from other poets," said Pugerude, a senior. "It was fun seeing how other people interpreted their poems."

For the competition, she recited "A Noiseless, Patient Spider" by Walt Whitman and "A Locked House" by W.D. Snodgrass.

"I picked the Whitman poem because it’s short and keeps people’s attention," said Pugerude. "It’s also very moving because it’s about reaching out and trying to connect with other people. And I chose the other one because it tells the story of a broken marriage and is very dramatic and leaves you with a feeling of regret."

She said participating in the competition was a "great experience. I really love poetry and especially spoken word, so it’s nice to see that other people do, too, and are very good at it."

Pugerude was accepted into VCU’s theater program, so she may be heading there after graduation. "Their arts program is number one in the state," she said. "So there’s a good possibility I’ll go there and major in theater."

She’s taken theater at Paul VI, all four years, so acting has been a big part of her life. "Theater has been my whole high-school experience," she said. "I’ve made a lot of friends here and really grown as a person and as an artist."

Pugerude praised Paul VI Theater Director Katherine Miller, as well. "From Mrs. Miller, I’ve learned to always work as hard as you can to control what you can control," she said. "And then, when it’s time to be creative, all that hard work pays off."

Now Pugerude is happily anticipating beginning the next chapter in her life. At Paul VI, she’s been a star of the stage; but in college, she said, "I’m looking forward to being a small fish in a large pond."