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Sarasota's youth poet laureate named

An 11th grader from Pine View School was selected from a field of six.

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The Sarasota Youth Poet Laureate Awards Ceremony invited lovers of poetry to the Historic Asolo Theater at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art on Monday night to find out which of the six students would be the Sarasota Youth Poet Laureate.

Hayley Peace, an 11th grader at Pine View School, was selected as the Sarasota Youth Poet Laureate. 

“I believe that every finalist is deserving of this recognition,” she said after her name was announced.

This event was also a celebration for the finalists who made the effort to go through the application process for the possibility to be selected as the National Youth Poet Laureate. This group of young poets each recited one poem they had written.

Ada Limón, Poet Laureate of the United States, made an appearance to support this group of young poets. After the award ceremony, Limón signed books for guests and students.

“The one thing that I believe in anything that my kids want to do, I'm always going to support them. I was raised that way. I believe that it’s important to expose kids to different things and she showed interest,” said Dekesha Battieste, mother of youth poet finalist A’rayia Davis. “If you get a chance to meet her, she’s a different kid. She has a very special gift, but she’s very humble. When everything is going wrong, she finds something to celebrate.”

“Whenever you do a competition, there's going to be a winner, but there’s never a loser,” said Jim Shirley, the executive director of the Arts and Cultural Alliance. “They were all winners. I was in awe with what they all wrote.”

The Sarasota Youth Poet Laureate finalists were: A'rayia Davis, Booker Middle School eighth grader; Jacob Gardner, Sarasota High School sophomore; Nelson Rapalo, Pine View School sophomore; Laura Glik Fusaro, Riverview High School junior; Hayley Peace, Pine View School junior; and Hannah Van Hise, Sarasota High School senior.


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