GEHS student to represent WV at Poetry Out Loud Contest in Washington, DC

Brett Napier
Tia Walkup

Greenbrier East High School student Brett Napier will represent West Virginia at the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest in Washington, DC on Apr. 30 and May 1.

Napier won the state competition hosted by the WV Department of Arts, Culture and History (WVDACH) and the WV Commission on the Arts on Saturday, Mar. 2, at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. Tia Walkup of Greenbrier West High School was the runner-up.

Napier recited Candles by Carl Dennis, My Brother the Artist, at Seven by Philip Levine and The Glories of Our Blood and State by James Shirley.

Walkup’s poems included Quite Frankly by Mark Halliday, Very Large Moth by Craig Arnold and A Song: Lying is an occupation by Laetitia Pilkington.

Forty-five students from high schools in 29 counties competed in the semifinals on Friday, Mar. 1, with the top 10 contestants competing Saturday in the state final.

Napier received $200 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC for the national finals. Greenbrier East High School received a $500 stipend to buy poetry books and materials. His teacher is Kallie Cochran.

As the runner-up, Walkup received $100 and $200 for her school to purchase poetry books and materials. Her teacher is Jaye-Andrea Arp.

Poetry Out Loud is a poetry recitation contest sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry Magazine, the oldest English-language monthly publication dedicated to verse. The program is designed to encourage high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization, performance and competition.

Beginning at the classroom level, 4,167 students and 113 teachers at 51 West Virginia high schools participated in the Poetry Out Loud program this year.

For more information about Poetry Out Loud and the state semifinal and final competition, contact Jim Wolfe, Poetry Out Loud state coordinator, at 304-558-0240 or

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