Smile Politely

Two local students awarded in statewide poetry contest

black and white photograph of Gwendolyn Brooks, a Black woman with short black hair. She sits in fron t of a wall of books, wearing a short sleeved sweater and sitting in front of a typewriter
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Maeve Rogers, a first grade student from Savoy, and Robert Gao, a tenth grader from Champaign, were named among the recipients of this year’s Gwendolyn Brooks Youth Poetry Award. The annual competition is open to Illinois students in kindergarten through 12th grade. This year’s 25 winners and 16 honorable mentions were selected from 810 submissions representing 151 schools in Illinois.

Gwendolyn Brooks established the Youth Poetry Awards in 1969 when she was Illinois Poet Laureate. She believed a poet laureate ““should do more than wear a crown—[she] should be of service to the young.” 

The winners will be honored at a ceremony at the University of Chicago in September where they will recite their poems. The ceremony is open to the public.

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