2019 Poetry Out Loud

In 2019 the Virginia Commission for the Arts coordinated five (5) 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 57 public and private schools.

On Friday, March 15, 2019, ten regional competitors from across the Commonwealth convened at WCVE, The Community Idea Stations (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 30-May1, 2019 at the Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC. First time regional winner and state champion, Katherine Nguyen of Colonial Forge High School (Fredericksburg) took top honors reciting “I Sit and Sew” by Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson. First runner-up was Zoree Jones of Patriot High School (Gainesville), and second runner-up Sophia Skiavo of Chantilly High School (Chantilly).

2019 Virginia State Champion


From L to R- Secretary Atif Qarni, Katherine Nguyen, Zoree Jones, Sophia Skiavo
Jim Hale--Photographer

2018 Virginia Finalists


Jim Hale—Photographer
(L to R): Gabriella Guirand, Sophia Skiavo, Allana Yoo, Mia Shenkman, Ivana Mensah-Agyekum, Katherine Nguyen, Joseph Whetzel, Marian Woodington, Collin Devlin, Zoree Jones

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Regional Competitions

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 of Greater Manassas/Prince William County (Manassas), Richmond Performing Arts Alliance (Richmond), Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (Virginia Beach), Signature Theatre (Arlington), and the American Shakespeare Center (Staunton). 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 advance to compete at state competition.

Center for the Arts of Greater Manassas/Prince William County- Manassas, VA


(L to R): Leah Ican, Jaida Lebron, Jack Lynam, Zoree Jones, Reid Otterbacher, Saba Azimipour, Maryam Khan, Hope Weed, Eveline Josselyn, Kelly De Angioletti, Felice Lagarde, Katherine Nguyen, Grace Sowa, Piper Won, Eric Thomas, Madison Maddox, and Grace Cunningham

On January 24, 2019, sixteen (16) students from the region competed in the Poetry Out Loudcompetition at Center for the Arts of Greater Manassas/prince William County, Manassas. Zoree Jones-winner (Patriot High School) Katherine Nguyen-runner-up (Colonial Forge High School) advanced to the state finals.


Katherine Nguyen (runner-up) and Zoree Jones (winner)

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Signature Theatre, Arlington


(L to R): Brandon Hellmer, Mia Shenkman, Megan Cena, Charlotte Greenwood, Grace Keenan, Charan Ravikumar, Sarai Joya, Kiran Pippin -Mathur, Sara Cutler, Sophia Skiavo, Chrissy Blake, and Sophia Jordan.

On January 25, 2019, twelve (12) students competed in the Poetry Out Loud competition at Signature Theatre, Arlington. Sophia Skiavo-winner (Chantilly High School) and Mia Shenkman- runner-up (Washington-Lee High School) advanced to the Virginia Finals.


Mia Shenkman (runner-up) Sophia Skiavo (winner)

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Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach


L to R: Lou Conner, Collin Devlin, Madison Halinski, Abigail Hecht, Sierra Belford, Ciarra Bridgers, and Gabriella Guirand

On February 8, 2019, seven (7) students competed in the Poetry Out Loud competition at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach. Collin Devlin-winner (Tallwood High School) and Gabby Buirand-runner-up (Norfolk Collegiate) advanced to The Virginia Finals.


Collin Devlin (winner) Gabby Guirand (runner-up)

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American Shakespeare Center, Staunton


L to R: Tristan Brown, Macie Miller, Hannah Doty, Ivana Mensah-Agyekum, Joseph Whetzel, Katerina Dronov, and Katie Elliott

On February 19, 2019, seven (7) students competed in the Poetry Out Loud competition at the American Shakespeare Center, Staunton. Ivana Mensah-Agyekum- winner (Harrisonburg High School) and Joseph Whetzel-runner-up (Broadway High School) both advanced The Virginia Finals.


Ivana Mensah-Agyekum (winner) and Joseph Whetzel (runner-up)

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Richmond Performing Arts Alliance, Richmond


L to R: Chris-Ann Nelson, Jazmin Young, Kaitlyn Winkle, Hollis Cobb, Baylina Pu, kate Haacke-Golden, Shreya Rajkumar, Azahni Jones, Pooja Muthuraj, Jordan Melis, Camiyah Ford, Laney Yoo, Madeleine George Watkins, Lucas Reynolds, Stephanie Seay, Tylon Robinson and Marian Woodington

On February 20, 2019, seventeen (17) students competed in the Poetry Out Loud competition at the Richmond Performing Arts Alliance (Dominion Energy Center) Richmond. Marian Woodington- winner (Appomattox Regional Governor’s School) and Laney Yoo-runner-up (St. Catherine’s School) both advanced The Virginia Finals.


Marian Woodington (winner) and Laney Yoo (runner-up)

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