The late Tom Nattell, Albany poet & environmental & peace activist, established the Tom Nattell Peace Poetry Prize in 2004 to make a cash prize each year to a student at Albany High School for a poem they had written. When Tom had been a student at Albany High School he received a prize of $50, which he said inspired him to keep writing poetry.
The winners of the 2019 prize were Perrion Ponzo and Aeonna Marsico-Von Lutz. Each student received a check for $200. The contest is open to a student in any grade at Albany High School; it is coordinated by Dan Wilcox and the judge was Therese Broderick. The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region manages the fund and the annual payments are made through the Hudson Valley Writers Guild.
This year, there was a total of 24 poems submitted by 10 student poets. Regarding this year’s entries, Ms. Broderick offered the following comment: “It is always hard to choose among so many expressive, soul-bearing, imaginative poems. It’s hard to pass up on any of these precious young poets.” She also praised the work of the two winners, commenting on specific noteworthy element in the winning poems.
The awards were presented to Perrion Ponzo & Aeonna Marsico-Von Lutz on June 6, 2019 at the Albany High School Awards Ceremony.