Winners of the High School Poetry Contest were celebrated at the Annual Palm Beach County High School Poetry Contest Award Ceremony, in the Crest Theatre, at Old School Square in Delray Beach, January 20th.

Open to Palm Beach County public and private high school students, five winners and three honorable mentions were selected from over 300 entries by Dr. Jeff Morgan, Lynn University, contest judge.

In addition to cash prizes, all winners received a pair of tickets to “An Evening of Poetry with Patricia Smith.” Smith is the author of eight books of poetry, including Incendiary Art, winner of the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the 2017 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the 2018 NAACP Image Award, and finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize. Smith visited Palm Beach County High Schools during festival week to read/perform her poetry followed by Q&A sessions with students . It is estimated that these programs reached over 3,000 students. Winners will also receive subscriptions to Poets & Writers Magazine.

Visit this link to see and read all of the winning poems.

The $200 first place prize went to Grace Gosinanont, from Royal Palm Beach Gardens, a 16-year-old junior at A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach. She won for her poem Rotten. Her sponsoring teacher is Brittany Rigdon.

The next four $100 winners are in order of their finish:

+ Primrose Tanachaiwiwat, a 15-year-old sophomore at Boca Raton Community High School, for her poem Etymology. Her sponsoring teacher is Andrea Abbe.

+ Rachel Dippolito, from Lake Worth, a 16-year-old junior at Dreyfoos School of the Arts, for her poem Daughter. The sponsoring teacher is Brittany Rigdon.

+ Ava Murray, from West Palm Beach, a sophomore at Dreyfoos School of the Arts, for her poem In Argentina. Her sponsoring teacher is Britany Rigdon.

+ Mariel Silpe, from Palm Beach, a 16-year-old junior at Dreyfoos School of the Arts, for her poem Love in Retrograde. Her sponsoring teacher is Brittany Rigdon.

In 2020, for the first time, three additional student poets received Honorable Mention: Alexa Alvarez, a 17-year-old junior, at Wellington Community High School, for her poem Luciana; Margaret Hunt, a 15-year-old sophomore at Wellington High, for The Afro in My Memory Mirror; and Julie Claude PettitFrere, a senior at Glades Central High School in Belle Glades, for Boys Will Be Boys.

“This year the Palm Beach Poetry Festival High School Poetry Contest received more than 230 submissions,” says Dr. Allen. “We are grateful to our contest judge, Dr. Jeff Morgan from Lynn University in Boca Raton, for choosing the winning poems and three honorable mentions.”

“The Poetry Festival has been honored to work with high school teachers throughout Palm Beach County for a decade and a half. We have visited hundreds of classrooms to discuss the craft of poetry and encourage students to write original poems. Every year we are impressed by the quality of their work. Many of our past winners have gone to college to become teachers themselves, and we are always hopeful that the students will continue to discover the delights that poetry offers us,” she adds. “As celebrated poet Carolyn Forche has pointed out, you find in poetry, something that is not found anywhere else.”