SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – South Dakota has a newly-crowned national champion; the 2021 Poetry Out Loud champion is 17-year-old Rahele Megosha, who will graduate on Sunday from Washington High School.
“We are judged on recitation, accuracy, performance, stage presence, things like that,” Megosha said.
The semifinal round featured 55 people and the final round had nine, but the soon-to-be Washington graduate now stands alone at the top.
“Very surreal, very crazy, I don’t really believe it yet,” Megosha said. “Like, you say, ‘Oh, yeah I’m the national champion,’ but it hasn’t really sunk it yet.”
The title includes a $20,000 prize. Washington High School gets $500 for poetry materials, too.
“I think the interesting thing about poetry is that there is something out there for everyone and there is a type or a poet or a poem that can speak to anyone,” Megosha said.
“Rahele is going to change the world,” Washington High School English teacher and speech coach Michelle McIntyre said. “I think that anybody who knows her knows that her passion and her drive and her talents and just her heart are going to make a big difference as she moves to her next chapter.”
As far as that next step, she’s going to the Ivy League. She has received a full-ride to Columbia University in New York.
“I would love to be a research chemist,” Megosha said. “I want to major in biochemistry, but I feel like a minor in either human rights or African American studies would be really amazing.”