Oak Park and River Forest High School senior Natalie Richardson has been named one of five students chosen nationally as a Student Poet Laureate by The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, as part of its Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She received the honor yesterday at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

As a Student Poet Laureate, Natalie receives an academic award of $5,000 and will spend the next year serving as a literary ambassador throughout the Midwest, designing community service projects and engaging audiences through readings, workshops and other events. She also will have the opportunity to work with poet mentors and serve as a resource for the White House, the U.S. Department of Education and the Library of Congress.

More than 300,000 students applied for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Of these, approximately 1,200 students received national silver and gold medals. OPRF had four students reach this level:

  • Natalie Richardson, senior, gold
  • Camara Brown, senior, silver
  • Dorothy Moore, senior, silver
  • Hannah Srajer, senior, silver

Of these 1,200, five were chosen to represent different regions of the country as the Student Poet Laureates. Natalie will serve the Midwest.

Natalie has participated in the OPRF Spoken Work Club and Slam Team for two years. Last year she competed in the Louder Than a bomb poetry festival and recorded a piece for local public radio station WBEZ. When she is not writing or studying, Natalie enjoys painting, drawing, eating, debating philosophy with her opposite-minded twin sister, traveling, and scuba diving. She hopes to one day sell her art in a festival, travel to Chile and dive the Great Barrier Reef.

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