Susan R. Williamson, Director of the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, and Blaise Allen, Ph.D., the Festival’s Director of Community Outreach, today announced the winners of the annual Palm Beach County High School Poetry Contest. The 14th annual Palm Beach Poetry Festival runs January 15-20 at Old School Square in Delray Beach. This year, four of the five winners are students at Wellington High School.
The $200 first place prize went to Sophia Upshaw, a 16-year-old junior at Wellington High School, for her poem, Here Lies the Girl in the Wildflowers.
+ Katherine Oung, a 14-year-old freshman from Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, for her poem, Night Wanderers.
+ Jannard Jackson, a 17-year-old senior at Wellington High School for his poem, Black.
+ Lindy Lichtman, a 15-year-old freshman from Wellington High School for her poem Soup.
+ Julie Petit Frere, a 16-year-old sophomore from Wellington High School for her poem, Justice For Some.
“This year the Palm Beach Poetry Festival High School Poetry Contest received more than 340 submissions,” says Dr. Allen. “Our judges, Lynn University’s Dr. Jeff Morgan and Professor Lorraine Stanchich-Brown from Nova University, had to narrow down to give talented finalists from a highly competitive pool of talented young poets.”
“The Poetry Festival has been honored to work with high school teachers throughout Palm Beach County for the past 13 years. We have visited hundreds of classrooms to discuss the craft of poetry and encourage students to write original poems, and every year we are amazed by the quality of their submitted work. In fact, many of our past winners have gone to college to become teachers themselves, and we are always hopeful that the Festival is nurturing a future Poet Laureate of the United States,” she adds.
The five winning high school poets read their poems at the Festival’s Award Ceremony on Monday, January 15, where they had the opportunity to meet and have their pictures taken with eight of America’s most distinguished and award-winning poets, as well as have their winning poems published online on the Festival’s official website at www.palmbeachpoetryfestival.org.
In addition to their cash prize, all five winners received a complimentary pair of tickets to the Poetry Festival’s Powerful Performance Poetry event with Elizabeth Acevedo and Aja Monet at Old School Square’s Fieldhouse on Friday, January 19, at 8 pm.