Southside Virginia Community College students win poetry and visual arts contests; poet earns spot to compete for statewide title

Southside Virginia Community College is pleased to announce the winners of its inaugural Virginia Community College System Poetry & Art Competition.

Participating students submitted original poetry and visual artworks during February and March interpreting the theme “I belong.” The program aimed to foster a sense of community and belonging at SVCC and across the Virginia Community College System. Twenty of the 23 colleges in the VCCS participated in this first year of the Poetry & Arts Competition, which was supported by the VCCS Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Culture. Dr. Daryl Minus, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success, states “SVCC is excited to have hosted a poet laureate and visual artist competition. This was an awesome opportunity for the college to magnify the impact and value of the arts and simultaneously engage our students under a universal theme that underscores belonging and inclusion."

1st Place - Rayna Aranzamendez
2nd Place - Rafferty Lee
3rd Place - Jade Phan
1st Place - Harper Ballance
2nd Place - Caylen Copley
3rd Place - Laila Wasi

Rayna won a spot to compete for statewide honors, and Harper will get the opportunity to have her artwork displayed at this competition. College poetry winners from across Virginia will participate in a live performance of their original theme-related poems at the Dickinson Fine and Performing Arts Center at Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville on April 6, and a chance to be named “Poet Laureate” of Virginia’s Community Colleges. A panel of distinguished judges will determine the winner of the competition based on the individual’s original poetry, a private interview, and the Saturday performance. Select works of visual art from participating colleges also will be on display at PVCC on April 6 and at the Virginia Community College System’s New Horizons systemwide conference in Roanoke the following week.

SVCC’s Poet Laureate Planning Committee included: Vondrenna Smithers, Bryant Trihey, Teona Preston, Kaylie Edwards, Latrisha McCargo, and Tiffany Bacon-Broadnax.


Rayna Aranzamendez & Harper Ballance

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