His powerful onstage performance just earned a 17-year-old from Virginia a national championship.
Akhei Togun of Virginia Beach won the 11th annual Poetry Out Loud National Poetry Recitation Contest and its top prize of $20,000. He recited “Bereavement” by William Lisle Bowles in the final round on May 4 at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium.
Second place went to 18-year-old Marta Palombo from Alpharetta, Georgia, and 15-year-old Nicholas Amador of Honolulu followed in third place.
High school students choose a poem from a list of more than 900, memorize it and recite it as part of the contest created by the National Endowment of the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.
Competition begins in individual classrooms with winners moving on to compete in their school, in their state and then on the national level. Students from D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands can also take part.