Fairfax Junior Named Virginia’s 2018 Poetry Out Loud Champion

The Virginia Commission for the Arts is pleased to announce that Remka Nwana, a junior from W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax has been selected as Virginia’s 2018 Poetry Out Loud Champion. The championship competition was held on March 12, 2018 at The Community Idea Stations, WCVE, Richmond. Remka competed with ten other regional winners chosen from an original field of 7,700 high school students across the Commonwealth. Sixty-two public and private schools participated in Virginia’s 2018 program.

The Virginia Commission for the Arts administers the statewide Poetry Out Loud program in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. 2018 marks the fourth year the Commission has partnered with WCVE to present and record the competition and develop a documentary for rebroadcast to other Virginia public media outlets.

In the third and final round of recitations for the top three finalists, Remka took top honors by reciting “Breakfast” by Mary Lamb. She received a $200 cash award and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete for the national championship this spring. W.T. Woodson High School received a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. First runner-up Nalani Mason, a sophomore at Lake Braddock Secondary, Burke received a $100 cash award and a $200 stipend for her school library. Second runner-up Taylor Dews, a senior at Norfolk Collegiate School, Norfolk received a leather-bound journal.

Alex Wiles, a Commonwealth Circle Liaison for the Community Idea Stations, served as the emcee of the program for the third consecutive year. The March 12 th program opened with a recitation by Remica Bingham-Risher of her original work “Training or a Weapon.” Students from TRAIN a pre-professional actor-training program in partnership with Virginia Repertory Theatre and Cadence Theatre Company provided an intermission performance of “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” from “Kiss Me Kate.” 

Awards were presented by Virginia’s Secretary of Education, Atif Qarni and Executive Director of the Commission Margaret Vanderhye. She commented: “Each year of this wonderful program for high school students, we continue to be impressed by the talent and poise of our Virginia contestants”. “Their recitations demonstrate mature reflection and insight that makes us optimistic about the future”, she concluded.

The WCVE recording of the state competition will air throughout the state in April. Broadcasting dates and affiliates are listed below. Supporters can cheer on Remka at the Poetry Out Loud national competition April 23-25, 2018 at the Lisner Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

To find out how to participate in Virginia’s Poetry Out Loud program visit http://www.arts.virginia.gov/programs_POL.html .

WCVE, Richmond/WHTJ Charlottesville
Monday, April 2 at 9:00 pm
Sunday, April 8 at 3:30 pm
Sunday, April 29 at 2:30 pm

WCVE, Richmond
Thursday, April 5 at 8:00 pm