West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History

Greenbrier East High School Student to Represent West Virginia at Poetry Out Loud Contest in Washington, D.C., April 30 – May 1


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Greenbrier East High School student Brett Napier will represent West Virginia at the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest in Washington, D.C. on April 30 – May 1. Napier won the state competition hosted by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History (WVDACH) and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts on Saturday, March 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, March 1, 2019, with the top 10 contestants competing Saturday in the state final. A complete list of semifinalists and their schools is attached. Top 10 finalists and Top 5 finalists also are noted.

Napier received $200 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. 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 james.d.wolfe@wv.gov.


Kayley Brinegar – Berkeley Springs High School
Katie Pearson – Buckhannon-Upshur High School
Natalie Eastone – Cabell Midland High School
Virginia Groce – Capital High School
Emily Yates – East Hardy High School
Maggie McAllister – Fayetteville High School
Ashlyn Bell – George Washington High School
Brett Napier – Greenbrier East High School (State Champion)
Tia Walkup – Greenbrier West High School (Runner-Up)
Sara Money – Hampshire High School
Victoria Bannon – Huntington High School
Melia Beckford – Hurricane High School (Top 5)
Brianna Watson – Lewis County High School
Devesh Shah – The Linsly School (Top 10)
Brooke Ooten – Logan High School
Ryan Horn – Magnolia High School (Top 5)
Emily Cales – Meadow Bridge High School
Julie Bowen – Moorefield High School
Indiah Bleher – Morgantown High School
Galilea Villasenor – Nicholas County High School
Darcy Witt – Nitro High School
Ben Long – Notre Dame High School (Top 10)
Allyson Brothers – Oak Glen High School (Top 5)
Fiona Legg – Oak Hill High School
Serenity Strother – Paden City High School
Emma Smith – Parkersburg High School
Billy Bowers – Paw Paw High School
Zoë Payne – Philip Barbour High School
Kayli Mann – Pikeview High School (Top 10)
Renee Varnell – Ripley High School
Suraya Boggs – Roane County High School (Top 10)
Natalie Adams – Shady Spring High School
Kayden Upton – South Charleston High School
Kayla McGary – South Harrison High School
Makenzie Hite – Spring Mills High School
Mattelyn Lamp – St. Marys High School
Katelyn Stillwagoner – Tyler Consolidated High School
Emily Pingley – Valley High School
Seth Vandevender – Webster County High School
Emily Budik – Weir High School
Alexis Cunningham – Westside High School
Kelly Williams – Wheeling Park High School (Top 10)
Mikaela Baccay – Wirt County High School
Dylan Cain – Woodrow Wilson High School
Kalli Stewart – Wyoming East High School


Photo 1: Brett Napier, Greenbrier East High School, is the 2019 West Virginia Poetry Out Loud state champion. Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History.
Photo 2: Tia Walkup, Greenbrier West High School, is the 2019 West Virginia Poetry Out Loud state runner-up. Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History.


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