D’anahlei Rodriguez and Juneya Quitano of Kagman High School bagged first place in the 2022 Valentine N. Sengebau Competition’s Senior Division on Oct. 25 at the American Memorial Park Visitors Center Theater.
Rodriguez and Quitano, who are seniors at Kagman High School, both performed an original poem they composed, titled Woven Within.
“Winning first place was like achieving another milestone because it gave us a voice to represent our native people,” said Rodriguez, when asked what winning the competition means to her.
Yu Rong Jiang, a student from Francisco M. Sablan Middle School took first place in the Junior Division in her recital of Valentine N. Sengebau’s poem, Searching.
Last year’s victor, now a senior at Mt. Carmel School, Jill Anne Mallari, secured another win in second place. Mallari performed her original poem, Ode to Home.
In third place in the Senior Division was Jude Litulumar, a senior from Kagman High School who performed his original poem, Divided, which shares his personal view of cultural identity.
Third place in the Junior Division was 8th-grade Hopwood Middle School student Seano Pangilinan, who performed Time of Consciousness by Sengebau. Second place 8th-grade Francisco M. Sablan Middle School student Gian Antonio opened the competition with his recital of I Hear the Message.
The competition is an annual event hosted by the Northern Marianas Humanities Council. The competition comprises a Junior and Senior division. Senior Division competitors are judged on two categories: content material of their original poem and recital. Competitors in the Junior Division recite poems composed by Valentine N. Sengebau that were published in a 2004 anthology, titled Microchild.
The Valentine N. Sengebau Poetry Competition aims to promote an appreciation for poetry that captures expressions of the CNMI’s diverse experiences and values as they relate to culture, identity, and change. This event hopes to strengthen the contestants’ literacy and oratory skills. The competition is open to all middle school and high school students and is held annually in October, CNMI Humanities Month.
Judges for the competition this year were Northern Marianas College professor Adam Walsh, social media personality Antonette “Netty Cee” Castro, former Sengebau competition winner Beda Mundo, and English/Language Arts educators Zeno Deleon Guerrero and Loremel Hocog. (PR)