16-year-old Tova Ricardo was selected as the City of Oakland’s 2015 Youth Poet Laureate. Ms. Ricardo will be entering her junior year at Bentley High School where she is an active member and leader in the diversity clubs. She also applies her leadership skills in the classroom and on the soccer field. Ms. Ricardo emerged as the best of seven talented finalists from schools across the Bay Area. Students from Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy, Met West and Oakland Technical High School, amongst others, participated in a highly competitive process juried by accomplished authors, educators and community leaders. Ms. Ricardo will receive a $5,000 scholarship and the opportunity to officially represent the Oakland community through poetry, media and public appearances. Now in its fourth year, the Youth Poet Laureate Program is a partnership between Oakland Public Library, Youth Speaks, ProArts and more than a dozen community partners. To read the media release, please visit http://www2.oaklandnet.com/w/oak054077. To learn more about the program, please visit http://oaklandlibrary.org/teens/events-programs/youth-poet-laureate-program. For more information, please contact Lana Adlawan, Teen Services Coordinator, at ladlawan@oaklandlibrary.org or (510) 238-7613.

2014 is the 3rd annual Youth Poet Laureate competition.

The 2014 winner is Sophie Elkin.

Each year a winner is honored with a $5,000 scholarship and the opportunity to officially represent his/her community through poetry, media, and public appearances. Finalists are announced in May. A second round of judging begins in June, and the winner will be announced in early August.

To be eligible:

  • Must be between 13 – 18 years old
  • Must live or attend school in Oakland
  • Plan to stay in the greater Bay Area next year (September 2014 – July 2015)
  • Family members of judges, funders and active committee members are not eligible to apply
  • Youth in juvenile detention may apply as long as you will be released by September 2014

External Link: YouthSpeaks.org/poetlaureate

The nine finalists represent the best of Oakland's young talent, while also reflecting the city's lauded diversity. They are: 
·       Aaron Godinez, 17, Head-Royce
·       Ajali de Veaux-Griffith, 17, Oakland School for the Arts
·       Emily Kim, 16, Oakland School for the Arts
·       Guisela Ramos, 18, Met West High School
·       Imani Diltz, 16, Oakland School for the Arts
·       Maria Cruz, Met West High School
·       Mina Jameson, 16, Oakland School for the Arts
·       Sophia Elkin, 17, Oakland School for the Arts
·       Torin Rittenberg, 16, Bentley High School

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