VBCPS - Charting the Course
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rosemary Gladden
Date: 05/05/16 Phone: 757.263.1229
News Release No. 071 Fax: 757.263.1010
Email: rosemary.gladden@vbschools.com

Tallwood High School
senior is national poetry champion

Competing against high school state finalists from across the country, Tallwood High School senior Ahkei Togun was named the 2016 National Poetry Out Loud Champion. The title comes with a $20,000 winning prize.

A two-time state champion, Togun earned his first state Poetry Out Loud title last year as a junior. At the 2016 national competition held May 2-4 in Washington, D.C., Togun's recitation of "I'm a Fool to Love You" by Cornelius Eady, earned him a berth in the finals where he matched skills against finalists from Georgia and Hawaii. Togun's recitation of "Bereavement" by William Lisle Bowles was named the nation's winning performance.

"We were all cheering for Ahkei and knew this skilled, talented young man not only could win but would win," said Superintendent Aaron Spence. "We are so proud of Ahkei and look forward to seeing his bright future ahead."

More than 317,000 students nationwide participated in this year's Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Competition, which begins at the school level, advances through regional and/or state competitions, and culminates at the national finals. A program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation and supported by individual state arts agencies, the competition helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about literary heritage.

Togun, who has participated in Poetry Out Loud since he was a freshman, will begin college in New York this fall where he will study acting.

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Department of Media and Communications, vbcpsweb@vbschools.com

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