On Monday, 7 April, the award ceremony for the 33rd Annual Student Poetry Contest was held at the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association. This year’s ceremony was held during the year in which we are commemorating what would have been Whitman’s 200th birthday.
Wheatley English teacher Rick Wilson took his AP Literature students to receive the recognition announced last month. It was a beautiful ceremony with congratulatory tributes by NYS Senator James Gaughran, NYS Congressman Thomas Suozzi, NYS Assemblyman Steve Stern, Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, and Suffolk County Legislator Susan Berland.
Senior Tiffany Jiao was the Grand Champion in her category! Tiffany read her Whitmanesque “Sweet Poison” piece for the audience of 200. Other winning Wheatley poets who were present included Huda Ayaz and Yusuf Meghji. Not present but still honored were Jamie Ryan and Manan Shukla. Mr. Wilson received the award for our AP class Grand Champion anthology “In the Eyes of an Eagle.”
Whitman Poet-in-Residence Jane Hirshfield was truly inspiring, reading not only from her own poetry but in calling out the importance of young poets in these challenging political times. Tom Suozzi, too, was highly articulate as to poetry’s purpose in society and the significant accomplishments of our young people.
Congratulations to the students who were recognized during the ceremony. Thank you to Mr. Wilson for engaging his students in this contest celebrating one of our country’s literary treasures!
[Thanks to Mr. Wilson for the write-up and the photos!]