The Crusader Newspaper Group

Gary to name its first-ever Youth Poet Laureate

The Gary Youth Poet Laureate Society is proud to announce the three finalists for its first-ever poetry contest: Kianah King, a Portage High School graduate; Paij Rhymes of Thea Bowman Leadership Academy; and Aniya Roy of Steel City Academy. One of these talented young poets will be crowned Gary’s first-ever Youth Poet Laureate at the Society’s inaugural commencement performance on June 22, 2024, at 2:00 pm at the Main Stage Theatre at IU Northwest, located at 3415 Broadway, Gary.

Tickets for this landmark event are $5 each or free with a valid Student ID. The performance promises to be a celebration of youth creativity and community engagement, featuring readings from the finalists and a special performance by Curtis Crisler, the Indiana Poet Laureate and Gary native. Crisler, who will serve as a guest judge, will also read an original work at the commencement program.

“We couldn’t be happier than to have the Indiana Poet Laureate involved with our program,” said Akilia McCain, founder of the Gary Youth Poet Laureate Society. “The young people have a real- life example of what they can accomplish if they stay devoted to their craft as an artist.”

In addition to Crisler, Lydia Johnson, a published poet and Gary native and Dr. Camea Davis, the Youth Poet Laureate Director of Urban Word NYC, also served as judges for the competition. Their combined expertise and dedication to literary arts have ensured a rigorous and inspiring selection process.

Akilia McCain, a renowned opera singer and staunch advocate for literacy, was inspired to establish the Gary Youth Poet Laureate Society after hearing a podcast about Amanda Gorman, the nation’s first Youth Poet Laureate, who gained national fame after reading her poetry at President Joe Biden’s Inauguration in January 2021.

McCain is also slated to perform with the Gary Civic Symphony Orchestra on July 26 at the Northwest Indiana Symphony’s South Shore Summer Music Festival in Gary and will headline the 2nd Annual Chrysanthemum Concerto in September. The September concert will be recorded and televised on Lakeshore Public Media this fall.

Tickets to the Gary Youth Poet Laureate Society Commencement Performance are available for purchase on Eventbrite.

Recent News

Scroll to Top