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9 students win $25K in prizes at 2021 Poetry In Voice finals

High school students Thierney Dignadice, Sarah Hamdi and Romy Magdalena Pueyo all earned first place honours in the poetry recitation competition.

Thierney Dignadice, Sarah Hamdi and Romy Magdalena Pueyo earned first place honours

The 2021 Poetry in Voice national finalists participated in a virtual finals. (Poetry in Voice/YouTube)

High school students Thierney Dignadice, Sarah Hamdi and Romy Magdalena Pueyo all earned first place honours in the 2021 Poetry in Voice national poetry recitation competition.

Poetry in Voice challenges students in Grades 9-12 to learn two to three poems by heart and perform them in front of an audience. They can compete in English, French or a bilingual category. A prize of $25,000 is given out to the winners across the three categories. 

The annual competition was established by Scott Griffin, chairman and founder of the Griffin Trust for Excellence In Poetry, in 2011. 

More than 10,000 students from 1,400 schools across Canada competed in the 2021 competition. Forty-two semifinalists were selected to upload their performances to the Poetry in Voice website.

Then nine finalists were chosen to compete in a virtually broadcast national finals, which was hosted by former CBC Radio personality Johanne Blais.

Dignadice, a student from Lord Selkirk Regional Secondary School in Selkirk, Man., won the English category.

Hamdi, a student at University of Toronto Schools, won the bilingual category.

Pueyo, a student from Collège Beaubois in Pierrefonds, Que., won the French category.

The three winners each take home $3,000 and their school library will receive $1,000 worth of poetry books.

Second place in the English category went to Vancouver student Zara Smith while third place went to Winnipeg student Al Gilbert.

The runner-up in the bilingual category was Toronto's Philip Nedelev. Rachel Lyonnais-St-Martin of Montreal placed third.

Second place in the French category was Reda Hessi of Montreal and third place went to Lysiane Kouakou of Calgary.

The three second place finishers each received $2,000 and their school will receive $500 worth of poetry books. 

Third place finishers each earned $1,000, with $250 worth of poetry books being sent to their school libraries.

The competition was judged by Mathew Henderson, Evelyn Lau, and Damian Rogers for the English recitations; Nicole Brossard, Georgette LeBlanc and Hector Ruiz for the French recitations. 

This year, a new People's Choice Award was also announced. 

Star Ezeano from All Saints High School in Calgary won the English People's Choice prize, worth $500, while Marianne Arseneault from École secondaire Val Mauricie, Shawinigan, Que., won the French People's Choice prize, also worth $500.

More than 10,063 people voted for their favourite recitation in the People's Choice Award category.

The 2021 competition saw thousands of students participating from 1,400 schools across Canada.

Each competitor had to perform two poems.

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