Van Tech student Roan Shankaruk is a national poetry champion. Earlier this semester Shankaruk took the top prize in the national poetry competition Poetry in Voice, a competition that included over 370 schools and national finals where she went head to head with 39 finalists from secondary schools and Collèges d'enseignement g�n�ral et professionnel (CEGEPs) from across Canada.
Shankaruk's performance won her first prize of $5,000, and $1,000 for Vancouver Technical Secondary School's library (with $500 reserved for the purchase of poetry books) for her best combined score of three recitations in English.
It is a massive accomplishment, says Shankaruk's teacher Denise Clark.
"I am thrilled for Roan's tremendous win. She truly became one with each of the poems she chose to recite bringing the voice and tone of the poems come to life. "Wolf Lake" is a disturbing poem about a murder victim and Roan's performance was chilling (the poet, Elizabeth Bachinsky, who attended Friday's event said the same). Her "Confessions" was insightful, and "Dog Boy" humourous, playful and engaging. Seeing her win fills me with pride and admiration," said Clark. "Roan is truly talented."
Shankaruk's win is the second national win for Van Tech in two years. Clark says it is also a testament to the great work of Van Tech's English Department.
"In our department we encourage students' creativity, insight, and critical thinking when it comes to the texts we study. This manifests itself in the opportunities we give our students through Poetry in Voice, our own Poetry Cafe that celebrates students' own creative writing, our speech contests, our literacy week, our Bard actor in residency workshops, to name a few," says Clark. " Our classes are alive. This resonates throughout the school."
Clark says big thanks also need to go to Nicky Paris, who helped co-organize the school's Poetry in Voice competition in which over 30 students from 10 classes participated in. Clark says the students ultimately drawn to the department and English programs are diverse, creative, giving and socially engaged.
"The programs we have at Tech encourage this and draw these students in," she says.