Keeratveer Bambrah from Surrey winner of the ‘Democracy and Me’ poetry competition in the grades 5-8 category

THE The Office of the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia are pleased to announce the winners of the Democracy & Me Poetry Contest on Thursday. One winner has been selected in each of the contest’s three categories:

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

* Grades 5-8: Keeratveer Bambrah, Grade 7, Surrey

* Grades 9-12: Maryam Abusamak, Grade 11, Richmond

The Democracy & Me poetry contest challenged students to reflect on the importance of community, civic engagement, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and democracy. Each level category was given a unique contest question to help guide the creation of original written and spoken poetry.

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

The final judging was led by Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia; Raj Chouhan, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly; and Zoe Duhaime, editor, writer, illustrator and 2015 City of Victoria Young Poet Laureate.

Austin and Chouhan would like to thank Kirk Longpre, a poet and educator from Victoria, for his help in developing the contest, and Duhaime for serving as expert judge.

“No poem is the same, and each reflects a different and valuable perspective on our diverse province from its youngest British Columbians,” Austin said. “I am very touched and inspired by their creative and thoughtful perspectives on an important and complex subject. Congratulations to the winners and to all the participating poets.

Chouhan said, “The range of styles and different approaches to sharing his thoughts on democracy and our communities are inspiring. These young people have such a sincere desire to make their cities and towns a better place for all, and it really comes across in each of their poems.

The official awards ceremony for the competition will take place in Victoria on Wednesday, April 27, when the winning poetry will be unveiled in a ceremony at the BC Parliament Buildings.

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