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Samoana student vies in national ‘Poetry Out Loud’ competition

Audrey Rose Sevaaetasi
Source: American Samoa Council on Arts, Culture & Humanities

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — On March 17, 2021, the American Samoa Council on Arts, Culture & Humanities (ASCACH) hosted a state/ territory level competition, where Ms. Audrey Rose Sevaaetasi, an 11th grader from Samoana High School, prevailed as the winner.

Due to COVID-19 border closures, Poetry Out Loud (POL) management deemed hosting virtual finals ideal, thus Ms. Sevaaetasi competed via submitting videos of her poetry performances, the same selections that were performed at the in-person American Samoa territory level finals.

POL aired its three regional semifinals on Sunday, May 2, 2021 as a one-time webcast (prohibiting any recording for later use of any kind) via You Tube.

The semifinals for region 3 comprised 19 students from the upper northwest and west regions including the U.S. territories of American Samoa and Guam. There were 3 rounds with the final round including only 8 students – the other 11 students did not advance past the second round. On skill and talent, Ms. Sevaaetasi advanced to the final round.

In round 3, Ms. Sevaaetasi competed against seven other high-caliber poetry recitation student representatives from South Dakota, Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Texas, and New Mexico.

And of those 8 great performances, Ms. Sevaaetasi advanced past four other students and finished the race in 4th place (an Honorable Mention position).

The top three Region 3 students (including state reps. from South Dakota, Texas, and Colorado) have advanced to the Finals to be webcast on May 27, 2021 by going to this link:

This is a great feat for American Samoa to compete on a national stage competition for the very FIRST TIME and ADVANCE THAT FAR is pretty stellar and very newsworthy.

Ms Sevaaetasi was awarded the individual prize of $1,000 and Samoana High School was awarded $500 for the purchase of poetry materials.

Ms. Sevaaetasi, from the village of Pago Pago, is the daughter of Aunese Ernie & Lina Sevaaetasi. She is a junior at Samoana High School and enjoys reading, listening to music, and writing poetry.

She said some of the reasons why poetry is essential to education is that poetry allows one to fluently convey emotions and thoughts; and to analyze those others have written in poetry. Poetry is essential in education in that it promotes communication through art, she concluded.


Poetry Out Loud, “POL” (, is a national, secondary education grade level, memorized poetry recitation competition managed by a partnership essentially including U.S. state/territory high school student participants and poetry focus area educators; the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA -; the Poetry Foundation (; and a federally partnered with NEA state arts agency (particularly, the American Samoa Council on Arts, Culture, & Humanities - ASCACH).

Ms. Sevaaetasi’s POL anthology selections were the following:

•           Dyed Carnations
• Author - Robyn Schiff (category: 25 Lines or Fewer) Round 1

•           An Apology For Her Poetry
• Author - Duchess of Newcastle Margaret Cavendish (category: 25 Lines or Fewer & Pre-20th Century) Round 2

•           Blade, Unplugged •Author - Tim Seibles (category: Freestyle, Any Poem) Round 3