In 2018 the Virginia Commission for the Arts coordinated five regional Poetry Out Loud competitions and one statewide final through partnerships with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and The Community Idea Stations, WCVE. Over 7,000 students in Virginia participated in the program with representation from 67 public and private schools.
On Monday, March 12, 2018, ten regional competitors from across the Commonwealth convened at The Community Idea Stations WCVE (Richmond) to compete for the title of Poetry Out Loud Virginia State Champion and the opportunity to represent Virginia at the national competition taking place April 24 and 25, 2018 at the Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC. First time regional winner and state champion, Remka Nwana of W.T. Woodson High School (Fairfax) took top honors reciting “Breakfast” by Mary Lamb. First runner-up was Nalani Mason, a sophomore at Lake Braddock Secondary School (Burke) and second runner-up was Taylor Dews, a senior at Norfolk Collegiate (Norfolk).
2018 Virginia State Champion
From L to R- Taylor Dews, Nalani Mason, and Remka Nwana
2018 Virginia Finalists
Photo Credit: Don Mears
Front Row (L to R): Maryam Khan, Caroline Campos, Mckenzie Page, Taylor Dews, Remka Nwana, Nalani Mason, Sarah West, Danielle Hagenseker, Burton Eller, Evalise Pacheco
VCA in partnership with arts organizations across the Commonwealth host Poetry Out Loud regional competitions in their communities. This year our partner organizations were Center for the Arts: The Candy Factory (Manassas), Center Stage (Richmond), Chrysler Museum (Norfolk), Signature Theatre (Arlington), and Wayne Theatre (Waynesboro). Regional competitors advanced from classroom and school wide competitions. Students at the regional level recited two poems pre-selected from the Poetry Out Loud Anthology in the effort to advance to The Virginia Finals. The two overall highest scoring competitors at the regional level were invited to compete at state competition.
Signature Theatre- Arlington, VA
(L to R): Morgan Starnes, Anjali Sanghavi, Yash Shekar, Nalani Mason, Maria Amare, Caeley Sacher, Miles Jackson, Xitlalli Dawson, Kristen Alleyne, Remka Nwana, Madison Maddox, and Leiby Ortiz.
On January 26, 2018, twelve students from the region competed in the Poetry Out Loud competition at Signature Theatre, Arlington. Remka Nwana-winner (W.T. Woodson High School) and Nalani Mason-runner-up (Lake Braddock Secondary) advanced to the state finals.
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Remka Nwana (winner) and Nalani Mason (runner-up)
Center for the Arts: The Candy Factory, Manassas
Front to Back: Rose Cobb, Lydia Smith, Diago Soriano, Somya Dubey, Wendy Poe, Abigail Grant, Alyssa Stump, Sarah West, Piper Won, Jordan Turner, Alexa Zaldivar, Ian Schwartz, Leah Ican , Deirdre Pierce, and Maryam Khan
On February 1, 2018, fifteen students competed in the Poetry Out Loud competition at Center for the Arts: The Candy Factory, Manassas. Sarah West-winner (Fredericksburg Academy) and Maryam Khan- runner-up (Woodgrove High School) advanced to the Virginia Finals.
Chrysler Museum, Norfolk
L to R: Taylor Dews, Cecelia Innis, Tiffani Prigrom, Evalise Pacheco, Nick Carpenter, Francis Sarabia, Clair Cunningham, Steffany Person, and Brammy Rajakumar
On February 17, 2017, nine students competed in the Poetry Out Loud competition at the Chrysler Museum, Norfolk. Cecilia Innis-winner (Norfolk Collegiate) and Taylor Dews-runner-up (Norfolk Collegiate) advanced to The Virginia Finals.
Taylor Dews (runner-up) Cecilia Innis (winner)
Wayne Theatre, Waynesboro VA
L to R: Atilia Thomas, Joseph Whetzel, Ivana Mensah-Agyekum, Evie Smith, Katie Adams, and Burton Eller
On February 24, 2017, six students competed in the Poetry Out Loud competition at the Wayne Theatre, Waynesboro. Katie Adams-winner (Broadway High School) and Burton Eller-runner-up (Grace Christian School) both advanced The Virginia Finals.
Burton Eller (runner-up) and Katie Adams (winner)