Nine Canadian students named 2023 'junior champions' for $25K national poetry recitation competition

This year's edition of the annual Poetry In Voice event challenges Canadian students 2 to learn poems by heart and perform them in videos created for online for consideration. Twenty-four students have also been named semifinalists in the senior online category.
Poetry in Voice
The annual Poetry in Voice event is a national poetry recitation competition for Canadian high school students. (

Nine students from across Canada have been named 2023 junior online champions for the national poetry recitation competition known as Poetry In Voice. In addition, 24 students have been named senior online semifinalists this year.

The annual Poetry In Voice competition challenges Canadian students to learn poems by heart and perform them online for consideration. 

Students in grades 6–8 entered the Junior Online Finals, while students in grades 9–12 entered the Senior Online Qualifiers, in one of the contest's three streams: English, French or Bilingual. Each Canadian school champion submitted two recitation videos.

The competition was established by Scott Griffin, chairman and founder of the Griffin Trust for Excellence In Poetry, in 2010. 

"Each one of these students has gained a deeper understanding of how poems are crafted, which has made them better readers and writers of poetry," said Poetry In Voice director David Smith in a statement.

The online videos were judged and the winners were selected by two panels of Canadian poets including David Bradford, Elizabeth Bachinsky and Ariel Gordon. The selected reciters were chosen from approximately 20,000 students from across the country. 

The 2023 Junior Champions are:


  • Taran Ly, Ottewell School, Edmonton
  • Karishma Suresh Kumar, Morning Star Middle School in Mississauga, Ont.
  • Soleila Starr, University of Toronto Schools, Toronto


  • Anaëlle Herve, Collège International Marie de France, Montréal
  • Eugénie Trutnev, Villa Ste-Marcelline in Westmount, Que.
  • Soleil Bitting, École des Sept-Sommets, Rossland, B.C.


  • Eden Simhon,  École Maïmonide Campus Jacob Safra, St-Laurent, Que.
  • Louise Harvey, École des Pionniers-de-Maillardville, Port Coquitlam, B.C.
  • Terris Wang, Ashbury College, Ottawa

The 24 senior online semifinalists were chosen from thousands of students participating from schools across Canada.

The English semifinalists are:

  • Jaiden Ahuja, Mulgrave School, West Vancouver, B.C.
  • Olivia Bridgman, Lycée Français de Toronto, Toronto
  • Maia Cassie, Queen Margaret's School, Duncan, B.C.
  • Grace Cormier, Harbour View High School, Saint John, N.B.
  • Andrea De Castro, Philip Pocock School, Mississauga, Ont.
  • Maria Espindola, Bishop Carroll High School, Calgary
  • Sophie Fan, École Internationale de Montréal, Montréal
  • Zeinab Kesserwan, Edmonton Islamic Academy, Edmonton
  • Sariya Kumar, St. Joseph's Catholic High School, Windsor, Ont.
  • Lola Okunjemiruwa, Webber Academy, Calgary
  • Shanice Raymond, Elmwood High School, Winnipeg
  • Angelina Yeung, Crofton House School, Vancouver

The French semifinalists are:

  • Hope Anaky, École Alexandre-Tâche, St. Albert, Alta.
  • Arsène Guillemot, Collège Français Secondaire Longueuil, Longueuil, Que.
  • Elizabeth Pan, Collège Jean-De-Brébeuf, Montréal
  • Nedelev Philip, Toronto French School, Toronto
  • Chloé Simard, Champlain Regional College (Saint-Lambert), Saint-Lambert, Que.
  • Romane Vigneault, Cégep du Vieux Montréal, Montréal

The bilingual semifinalists are:

  • Charlotte Deleskie, University Of Toronto Schools, Toronto
  • Rohan Mariash, Miles Macdonell Collegiate, Winnipeg
  • Philippe Morissette, Lycée Français De Toronto, Toronto
  • Aarounsaul Negre, All Saints High School, Calgary
  • Maité Turgeon, Collège Sainte-Anne Secondaire Dorval, Dorval, Que.
  • Marie Uwimana, École Secondaire Mont Bleu, Gatineau, Que.

In 2023, the FutureVerse youth poetry event will be held alongside the National Finals in Calgary. An all-expenses-paid poetry intensive, the event brings together young writers from all over the country for four days of workshops, panels, readings and activities with Canadian authors, publishers and activists.

Each Junior Champion earned between $100 and $300, while each Semifinalist has already earned $250. The recipient of the People's Choice Award will receive an extra $500. During the National Finals, a total of nearly $25,000 will be awarded to the winners.

The winner of the People's Choice Award, which you can vote for now until March 21 on the Poetry in Voice website, will receive an extra $500. 

You can watch the 24 semifinalists videos here. Voting for the People's Choice Award is open until March 21, 2023.

Nine finalists – three from each category – will be announced on Thursday, March 23, 2023. The finalists will move on to the national finals in Calgary, which, for the first time in three years, will be broadcast live on April 20, 2023 and streamed on multiple platforms.

Last year's Poetry in Voice winners were Stephanie Omorotionmwan, Nadine Berdous and Camille Racicot


  • This post has been updated to reflect: nine students from across Canada have been already named 2023 champions in the Junior Online Finals; the correct number of semifinalists (24) and the correct date of April 20 for the national finals.
    Mar 15, 2023 5:24 PM ET

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