Nine schools participated in the 12th Annual Vanentine Sengebau Poetry Competition held on 29 October at Charley's Cabaret.
Students competed in two divisions: junior and senior. For the Junior Division, 7th and 8th grade students recited a poem of their choosing from Sengebau's published anthology of poetry titled Microchild.
In the Senior Division, 9th to 12th graders wrote and recited their own original poetry. Their poems had to relate to culture, identity, and/or change in the Northern Mariana Islands. Submitted poems were scored by a panel of judges for content prior to the event.
For both divisions, recitals were scored by a panel of judges at the event on Thursday evening. Judges included Alfreda Camacho, Lynnette F. Tenorio, and Michael A. White.
Taking first place in the Junior Division were Nehemiah Fernandez and Lovely Mariano of San Antonio Middle School for their recital of "Searching." Second place went to Jeremy John Atalig of Eskuelan San Francisco de Borja (Rota). Kayne Ann Obando, of Admiral Herbert G. Hopwood Junior High School bagged third.
In the Senior Division, the duo of Ann Margaret Norcio and Yuuki Nishida of Marianas High School took first place honors for their poem "Shh! Listen." Second place was captured by Glengela Flor Guiang and Eddie Boy Cestona of Dr. Rita H. Inos Junior/Senior High School for their poem titled "Speak." Third place went to Minna Natsuko Ito of Grace Christian Academy for her poem "Flame Tree."
First place winners in both division will have their names and school affiliations inscribed on the perpetual trophies and a cash prize of $250. Second place finishers received $150 and third place finishers $100.