A total of 12 schools will be represented in today’s 10th Annual Valentine N. Sengebau Poetry Competition at the American Memorial Park Visitors Center.
Eulalia Villagomez, program officer of the Northern Marianas Humanities Council, said the schools that will be sending representatives to the event are Admiral Herbert G. Hopwood Junior High School, Chacha Ocean View Junior High School, Dr. Rita H. Inos Junior/Senior High School, Eskuelan San Francisco de Borja, Grace Christian Academy-Saipan, Grace Christian Academy-Rota, Marianas Baptist Academy, Marianas High School, Mount Carmel School, Saipan Seventh-Day Adventist School, Saipan Southern High School, and Tinian Junior-Senior High School.
The competition, which honors the late Valentine Sengebau, was originally set at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center, but the venue’s lack of a public address system forced organizers to move it back to the AMP, which only last week reopened following the U.S. government shutdown.
Tonight’s event starts promptly at 6pm.
The Valentine N. Sengebau Poetry Competition is open to junior high and high school students from around the Commonwealth and is sponsored by the Humanities Council.
Last year, Tinian Jr./Sr. High School junior’s Kyle David Manuel Sandberger and Marianas Baptist Academy’s Yuuki Nishida won the 9th edition of the competition.
Sandbergen’s original piece, Time Heals All, won him first place in the senior division, which saw 13 other participants in the category that required contenders to read their own poems.
Nishida topped the junior division with his reading of the poem Old Man and the World.
Sengebau spent the last 25 years of his life in his adopted home of Saipan. The Palauan poet composed dozens of poems that were published in the Micronesian Reporter and the Marianas Variety, and the poetry expressed the personal joys and sorrows of his life and also explored the issues of the day, such as concerns regarding loss of cultural identity on the islands as well as the political negotiations between the United States and Micronesia.