American Graduate announces winners of spoken-word competition

Judges and the public have selected five winners of American Graduate’s Raise Up hip-hop and spoken word competition, which asked students to share original poems about challenges that lead students to drop out of high school. The winners will perform their poems live Sunday at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., at an event hosted by Glynn Washington, host and e.p. of public radio’s Snap Judgment. Each winner will also receive a $5,000 scholarship from the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation. Raise Up is a partnership between CPB’s American Graduate initiative and San Francisco-based Youth Speaks, an organization that seeks to empower youth through writing and the spoken word. Their national competition was designed to give students a platform for joining the conversation about dropout rates.

Spoken-word contest gives students the stage to discuss the dropout crisis

American Graduate and Youth Speaks, a nonprofit that focuses on empowering youth through creativity, hope to include more young people in conversations about high-school dropout rates with Raise Up, a hip-hop and spoken-word contest that will culminate with a performance this month at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and a radio special. The organizations paired up this spring to encourage teens to submit original raps and poems related to the high school dropout crisis. By June 30, Raise Up had received over 750 video submissions, many filmed with webcams and smartphones. Twelve finalists were chosen for the contest’s next round. From those, five entrants will be selected to perform their poems at the Kennedy Center Sept.