Laveen teen competes in national poetry contest

Out of 10,000 high school students from across the nation one student from Laveen made it into the top 10 of a National Poetry Contest.

Hunter Hazelton is the Arizona State Champion of Poetry Out Loud, and now he's taking his life-long passion to the national level.

"Yeah I got into poetry when I was in 1st grade and started writing haiku's," said Hunter Hazelton.

Hunter has turned that passion into an opportunity to win $20,000 before he ven graduates from high school.

"You have to really understand your poem to connect with it, and connect it to the audience," said Hazelton.

From an early age he took a liking to poetry, and now he's perfected his craft with hard work, and a love for written art.

"Preparation is quite tedious, I would say at first with memorization," he said.

But that preparation and memorization have taken the Betty Fairfax High School Senior to the national stage.

"We're really proud of him, and the teachers here, and all the support he's gotten on campus has been awesome," said

"A lot of teachers here are really supportive of me going around to different classrooms and performing for them, so I get to perform my poems all the time and get to waste other people's class-times, which I know they appreciate," said Hazelton.

In May, Hazelton will go up against nine other students who were also state champions. Where they will recite three poems at 25 lines or less.

"You can't really walk around and act it out on stage, they don't let you do that, you stand there with the microphone, and you recite your poem to the best interpretation that you can convey," said Hazelton.

Hunter wants to keep poetry as part of his life forever and hopes to become a creative writing professional. In the near future, he plans to attend Northern Arizona University.