Evalynn Bogusz, a senior at Heritage High School, Leesburg, is the 2023 Poetry Out Loud State Champion. The competition took place Friday, March 10, 2023, at VPM, Virginia’s home for Public Media, where Miss Bogusz competed along with eleven other students from across the Commonwealth.
Student competitors included:
- Aayra Rajashekara | Virginia Beach | Catholic High School
- Molly Ridgley | Winchester | Independent School of Winchester
- Maia Zasler | Richmond | Collegiate High School
- Daniela Vitello | Purcellville | Woodgrove High School
- Anna Mohanty | Arlington | Washington Liberty High School
- Mallory Phillips | Richmond | Maggie Walker Governor’s School
- Cambelle Laskodi | Haymarket | Battlefield High School
- Natalia Chapel | Norfolk | Norfolk Collegiate
- Anthony Hernandez | Petersburg | Appomattox Regional Governor’s School
- Madeleine Munday | Bridgewater | Blue Ridge Christian School
- Kathryn Price | Richmond | St. Catherine’s School
Virginia’s champion, Miss Bogusz, recited “Un Tintero” Inkwell” by Desiree Alvarez; “Meeting at an Airport” by Taha Muhammad Ali; and “Songs for the People” by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. Miss Bogusz received a $200 cash award and Heritage High School received a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. She will advance to the national Poetry Out Loud competition – taking place in Washington D.C. on May 8 – May 10, 2023.
Kathryn Price, a junior at St. Catherine’s School, Richmond, was the first runner up, and received a $100 cash award and a $200 stipend for her school library. Second runner-up Anthony Hernandez, a sophomore at Appomattox Regional Governor’s School, Petersburg, received a literary gift.
Distinguished judges included: Danielle Badra, Poet Laureate of Fairfax; Nathan Brewer, teacher at Veritas School in Richmond; Renee Olander, freelance writer, and former teacher at Old Dominion University; Aubrey Whitlock, Associate Director of Education Programming at the American Shakespeare Center; and Lauren Miner, teacher at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond and at Randolph-Macon College.
VPM will broadcast Virginia’s Poetry Out Loud competition on Sunday, April 30 at 4:00 p.m. on VPM PBS, with a repeat on Monday, May 1 at 8:00 p.m. on VPM PBS Plus.
The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in partnership with the Virginia Commission for the Arts supports the Poetry Out Loud program fostering the next generation of literary readers through recitation and performance.
The Virginia Commission for the Arts acknowledges the dedication of 5,698 students from 35 high schools who participated in Poetry Out Loud with 35 champions competing in four virtual semifinal competitions. 12 champions advanced to the state finals reciting selected works from the Poetry Out Loud Anthology, which hosts over 1,000 contemporary and classical poems. All students recited their first two poems with judges selecting the top three students to advance to the third round.
To find out how to participate in Virginia’s Poetry Out Loud program visit, https://vca.virginia.gov/initiatives/poetry-out-loud/.