19 Oct 2017
- By Lori Lyn C. Lirio – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
DANDAN Middle School’s Juliet Inocencio and Saipan Southern High School’s Jeremiah Fernandez were the top winners of the 14th Annual Valentine N. Sengebau Poetry Competition held at the Visitor Center Theatre of American Memorial Park on Tuesday evening.
Inocencio, who topped the junior division, recited a poem from Sengebau’s anthology of poetry, “Microchild,” titled “The Task.”
“I chose the piece because it is about how we must continue our culture, our ancestry and our history passed down to us. Our task is to keep those alive because it is our past and it is our window to our path,” Inocencio said before reciting the poem.
Hopwood Middle School’s Vivian Liu received the second prize while Dandan Middle School’s Jonathan Wolf tied for third prize with duo Patresiha Concillado and Elaine Fernandez from Francisco M. Sablan Middle School.
For the senior division, the high school participants submitted original poems with a maximum of 250 words based on themes related to NMI culture and identity.
Fernandez’s winning poem was titled “When We Sing.”
Frances Sablan, one of the judges, said the poem and Fernandez’s performance were impressive.
“He sang the anthem and I saw that he was emotional, that he really felt what he wrote and what he presented to us,” Sablan said of Fernandez’s performance.
“Some of them had really strong stage presence and they really felt their piece, whether it is something that they recited or something that they actually wrote,” she added.
Second prize went to Kagman High School’s Edson Valdisimo, who wrote and recited “Remember.” Mount Carmel School’s Monica Aira Usi, whose poem was titled “Ignorance,” placed third.
The annual event is sponsored by the Northern Marianas Humanities Council.
“This is our 14th year,” council executive director Scott Russell said. “We started in 2004 and each year the students are getting better.”
He added, “I think overall, everybody was really good. I didn’t see any weak performances. Everybody was strong, everybody was polished. I continue to be amazed by the talents of the kids. I am especially happy that we have Rota and Tinian participating as well.”
After the council published “Microchild” in 2004, it decided to hold a poetry competition named after Velentine Sengebau.
“The annual competition aims to promote literary skills and capacity building among our students,” Russell said. “The idea is getting the students involved in humanities and practicing the humanities. In the process, we are helping them build their literary and critical thinking skills and their confidence. And these will help them in their future educational endeavors.”
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/99424-juliet-inocencio-jeremiah-fernandez-top-poetry-competition