Surrey school student Keeratveer Bambrah wins Province’s Democracy & Me Poetry Contest

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VICTORIA: The Office of the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia announced the winners of the Democracy & Me Poetry Contest. One winner has been selected in each of the contest’s three grade categories:

* Kindergarten to Grade 4: Simon Wladichuk, Grade 2, Vancouver

* Grade 5 to Grade 8: KeeratveerBambrah, Grade 7, Surrey

* Grade 9 to Grade 12: Maryam Abusamak, Grade 11, Richmond

The Democracy & Me Poetry Contest invited students to reflect on the importance of community, civic engagement, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and democracy. Each grade category was provided with a unique contest question to help guide the creation of original written and spoken-word poetry.

The contest received more than 140 entries from children and youth throughout British Columbia. Among the participants were students from more than 50 public and independent schools representing nearly 40 different communities from across the province.

Final judging was conducted by Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia; Raj Chouhan, speaker of the Legislative Assembly; and Zoe Duhaime, editor, writer, illustrator and the City of Victoria’s 2015 youth poet laureate.

Austin and Chouhan would like to acknowledge Kirk Longpre, a Victoria poet and educator, for his assistance during the development of the contest, and Duhaime for serving as an expert judge.

Chouhan said: “The range of styles and the different approaches to sharing one’s thoughts about democracy and our communities is inspiring. These young people have such a genuine desire to make their towns and cities a better place for everyone, and it really manifests itself in each of their poems.”

The formal awarding of contest prizes will occur in Victoria on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, when the winners’ poetry will be unveiled in a ceremony at the B.C.’s Parliament Buildings.

Also on April 27, the winning poems, finalists, and all eligible entries will become viewable on the contest website: www.democracyandme.ca