Plainfield East high school senior Rapheal Mathis is among nine student finalists who'll compete for a $20,000 grand prize at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, April 30. He and his co-finalists emerged April 28 from a pool of 53 semifinalists who hailed from all over the U.S. as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
This year's pool of national entrants numbered around 375,000. Mathis took second place in the state finals in 2011.
"On my way to capitol hill for the congressional breakfast," he tweeted early Tuesday. "Made it to the top lol. Where's Obama."
"Rapheal has a natural speaking ability," Plainfield East speech team sponsor Michel Pawlak says in a story about Mathis on the District 202 web site. "When you couple his innate talent with his desire to practice and continually improve, his performances have the capability of captivating audiences."
2012 Poetry Out Loud Finals