2017 Poetry Out Loud

In 2017 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.  The 2017 regional competitions included representation of 37 school districts, 61 schools, and 63 school-wide champions. 

On Friday, March 10, 2017, twelve 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 25 & 26, 2017 at the Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC.  First time participant and state champion, Jessica Howard of Rock Ridge High School (Ashburn) took top honors reciting “I Too” by Langston Hughes.  First runner-up was Layne Yoo, a sophomore at St. Catherine’s School (Richmond) and second runner-up was Charisma Henry, a junior at W.T. Woodson High School (Fairfax). 

2017 Virginia State Champion


Photo Credit: Don Mears Photography
From L to R- Charisma Henry, Laney Yoo, and Jessica Howard

2017 Virginia Finalists


Photo Credit: Don Mears

Front Row (L to R):  Hatley Wood (Woodbridge), Kathryn Adams (Broadway), Burton Eller (Staunton), Sarah Law (Richmond)
Back Row (L to R):  Taylor Dews (Norfolk), Maloni Wright (Bedford), Cecilia Innis (Norfolk), Charisma Henry (Fairfax), Layne Yoo (Richmond), Jessica Howard (Ashburn), Juniela Mari Perez (Blackstone), Connor Hay (Oakton).

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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: 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


Back Row (L to R):  Min Jun (Eric) Kim, Connor Hay, Leonardo Guardado Navarro, Hannah Collins, Carter Fendley, and Varun Sathyanarayanan
Front Row (L to R):  Marie Ngolemdze Madjo, Irtiza Faruque, Ellen Berenson, Elise Flick, Alexis Figueroa Mata, Maria Amare, Charisma Henry, Cassandra Burdick, and Shahad Almaharmeh

On January 27, 2017, fifteen students from the region competed in the Poetry Out Loud competition at Signature Theatre, Arlington.  Charisma Henry-winner (W.T. Woodson High School) and Connor Hay-runner-up  (Flint Hill School) advanced to the state finals.


Connor Hay (runner-up) and Charisma Henry (winner)

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Center Stage - Richmond, VA


L to R:  Erin Waters, Leigh Salvucci, Jashaun Hyde, Moshe Ackman, Aidan Paliotti, Deja Canter, Cameron Chase Mothershead,  Sarah Law, Mckenzie Page, Katlyn Cooke, Jordan Pearson, Layne Yoo, Ivan Alexis Mosqueda, Trinity Le, Spencer Cox, Riley Harper, Nena Daniels,  and Stephanie Seay

On February 6, 2017, eighteen students competed in the Richmond regional Poetry Out Loud competition.  Layne Yoo-winner (St. Catherine’s) and Sarah Law-runner-up (Maggie Walker Governor’s School) advanced to the state finals.


Layne Yoo (winner) Sarah Law (runner-up)

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Center for the Arts: The Candy Factory, Manassas


L to R: Jessica Howard, Vivian Smith, Teryn Cuozzo, James Harris, Jennifer Prue, Rebecca Goodheart, Daniel Klucinec, Gladys Gonzalez, Hatley Wood, Anna Repp, Emma Capitano, Wendy Poe,  and Chiamaka Okafor
Missing from photo: Savannah Lambie and Lauren Bogle

On February 9, 2017, fifteen students competed in the Poetry Out Loud competition at Center for the Arts:  The Candy Factory, Manassas.  Jessica Howard-winner (Rock Ridge High School) and Hatley Wood- runner-up (Woodbridge Senior High School) advanced to the Virginia Finals. 

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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.   Taylor Dews-winner (Norfolk Collegiate) and Cecilia Innis-runner-up (Norfolk Collegiate) advanced to The Virginia Finals.


Taylor Dews (winner) Cecilia Innis (runner-up)

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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)

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