Ahkei Togun, a senior at Tallwood High School, Virginia Beach is the 2016 Virginia Poetry Out Loud Champion for the second year in a row. He was among 12 regional finalists who competed for the championship in Richmond in March. Ahkei was selected from a statewide program with 8,000 Virginia students who participated at the classroom level before advancing to school-wide and regional competitions.
In the final recitation round for the top three finalists, Ahkei took top honors reciting “Bereavement” by William Lisle Bowles. He received a $200 cash award and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, DC, to compete for the national championship this spring. His school received a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. First runner-up was Charisma Henry, a sophomore at Woodson High School (Fairfax) and second runner-up was Elizabeth Lilly, a senior at Norfolk Academy (Norfolk). Supporters can cheer-on Ahkei at the national finals at the Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC on May 2-4, 2016 or through a live webcast at www.arts.gov.