Apr 10, 2015
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There are so many talented Richmond poets, and here’s how we know it.

On Wednesday, the Richmond Arts and Culture Commission (RACC) announced the winners of the 2015 Richmond Writes! Poetry Contest, which encourages students in local elementary, middle and high schools to express themselves through poetry.

The submissions, based on the this year’s theme, “Poetry in Motion,” blew readers away, RACC said.

“Each year their poems touch the hearts of the art commissioners, judges, teachers, parents, city staff, and all who read them,” the commission said in a statement.

The students will be honored at an award ceremony April 17 in Richmond City Council Chambers, 440 Civic Center Plaza. All contest participants will receive certificates of recognition from Mayor Tom Butt along with a copy of the chapbook containing all of this year’s entries.

RACC sponsored its first poetry writing contest in 2010 in celebration of National Arts and Humanities Month, and has continued to hold the contest annually due to its success.

Elementary Schools:

1st Prize: Anthony Alvarez, Washington Elementary

1st Prize: Ariella Benavides, Caliber Beta Academy

1st Prize: Clarissa Castro, Washington Elementary

1st Prize: Silvia Coca Cruz, Washington Elementary

2nd Prize: Amelie Banuelos, Washington Elementary

2nd Prize: Hannah Benavides, Washington Elementary

2nd Prize: Sania Kaleko, Wilson Elementary

2nd Prize: Citlali Mano, Washington Elementary

2nd Prize: Gloria Zearett, Washington Elementary

3rd Prize: Angel Abreau, Bayview Elementary

3rd Prize: Leah Ambernathy Saphon, Caliber Beta Academy

3rd Prize: Giselle Barragan, Washington Elementary

3rd Prize: Reiley Dillon, Washington Elementary

3rd Prize: Amitra Kellogg, Washington Elementary

Honorable Mention: Elementary School 

Alicia Acosta, Washington Elementary; Carlos Acosta, Washington Elementary; Mara Bravo, Coronado Elementary; Aaliyah Castillo, Washington Elementary; Rogelio Contreras, Washington Elementary; Selenah Corona DesSilva, Wilson Elementary; Gloria Diaz, Washington Elementary; Asia Jacobson, Coronado Elementary; Melvin Lopez, Jr., Coronado Elementary; Antonia Mason, Bayview Elementary; Parker Mina, Washington Elementary; Jacqueline Plascencia, Coronado Elementary; Maryanna Preciado, Coronado Elementary; Daniel Rodinson, Washington Elementary; Savannah Qualls, Washington Elementary; Daniel Rodinson, Washington Elementary; Kylie Alyssa Velazquez, Washington Elementary; Jimena Villarreal, Washington Elementary; and Tyrah Weems, Washington Elementary.

Middle Schools:

1st Prize: Teressa T. Bigbee, DeJean Middle School

2nd Prize: Jade Synott Brandow, Fred Korematsu Middle School

3rd Prize: Santiago Sixto, DeJean Middle School

Honorable Mention: Middle School

Juan Zamara, DeJean Middle School

High Schools:

1st Prize: Gabrielle Green, De Anza High School

2nd Prize: Yaritza Gomez, De Anza High School

3rd Prize: Angel Wiley, DeAnza High School

Honorable Mention: High School 

Eugene O. Gaines, III, Kennedy High School

Jasmine Gill, DeAnza High School

Chandandeep Kaur, De Anza High School

Yajaira Sandoval, Kennedy High School

Austin Williams, Kennedy High School


1st Prize: Teo Scura, LEAP


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.