March 29, 2022

2022 Hampton Roads Youth Poet Laureate to be Announced April 24 at “ImmortALL” Teen Poetry Project Finale

​After months of practice and creative growth, Hampton Roads teens will put their talents on display during the Teens With a Purpose (TWP) ImmortALL Poetry & Performance Season Finale, which will take place at Zeiders American Dream Theater, 4509 Commerce St., from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday, April 24.

This program, now in its second season, is the result of a partnership between the Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department, Virginia Beach History Museums (VBHM), Princess Anne Country Training School/Union Kempsville High School Alumni and Friends Association (PACTS/UKHS) and Teens With a Purpose inviting Hampton Roads teens to learn about local African American history while learning the lively art of performance poetry.

"We are thrilled to expand on this partnership, which encourages teens to build confidence and their creative skills, as well as immerse themselves in living local history," said Emily Labows, director of the Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department. "We can't wait to welcome a full, in-person audience to share those experiences with these exceptional young artists."

In ImmortALL, performance poetry and modern social change meet oral history and the civil rights movement in this unique program. Virginia Beach teens connected with alumni from PACTS/UKHS, as well as professional poets from TWP. In monthly sessions leading up to the finale, teens engaged with PACTS/UKHS alumni from the classes of 1943-1969, learned more about VBHM's Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum and attended TWP performance poetry workshops. During the final performance, teens will display their re-interpretations of local oral history through the lens of their own experiences with current events.

"Young people set the course for what will be the future. They are our learners, and teachers, if we listen," said Deirdre Love, CEO for Teens With a Purpose. "ImmortALL values their voice, and provides audience members with the opportunity to gleam their poetic viewpoint on the past and their aspirations for the future."

During the April 24 program, TWP will also announce the 2022 Hampton Roads Youth Poet Laureate. TWP accepted submissions from young poets, rappers, leaders, and activists ages 14-19 from across Hampton Roads who were interested in representing the region as the Hampton Roads Youth Poet Laureate and are making a difference in their community. The Hampton Roads Youth Poet Laureate is part of the National Youth Poet Laureate Network.

The program is free to attend, but advanced registration is required. Visit the TWP ImmortALL Finale page to register. All attendees must also adhere to the Zeiders American Dream Theater's COVID-19 policies.

The TWP ImmortALL Finale registration will also include free admission to the Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 23 for a special engagement with alumni from the school, which was the first high school for African Americans in Virginia Beach. The museum is located inside of the Virginia Beach City Public Schools' Renaissance Academy, 5100 Cleveland St.

The ImmortALL Poetry & Performance Season Finale will also be livestreamed for free on the TWP YouTube and Facebook accounts, as well as the Virginia Beach Arts Facebook page, starting at 5 p.m. on April 24.

Poetry workshops for ImmortALL aimed to help students explore the stories shared by PACTS/UKHS alumni, as well as their own experiences. Teens worked towards a goal of immortalizing the ideals and history of the community that built PACTS/UKHS while sounding the call for further understanding, equity, and social change. Videos from the monthly workshops are available for viewing on the Teens With a Purpose YouTube channel.

TWP workshops are supported in part by funding from the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission.

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