Registration for Hampton Roads Youth Empowerment Poetry Program Now Open

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Virginia Beach History Museums (VBHM) is excited to announce the opening of registration for ImmortALL, a free performance poetry program focused on retelling Hampton Roads' Black history through performance poetry. The program is a part of Teens With a Purpose's (TWP) H.E.A.R. THIS poetry workshop series.  

Through this community partnership between the Princess Anne Country Training School/Union Kempsville High School Alumni and Friends Association (PACTS/UKHS), TWP, VBHM and the Zeiders American Dream Theater, teens can express their voices, connect with living historical figures and learn the art of performance poetry with fellow students from across Hampton Roads.

Performance poetry and modern social change meet oral history and the civil rights movement in this dynamic program. In writing workshops, which take place both in-person at select schools and virtually from October 2022 through April 2023, teens will engage with TWP's acclaimed professional poets and teaching artists, PACTS/UKHS alumni from the classes of 1943-1969 visit and view footage from the Virginia Beach History Museums' Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum, and will have the opportunity to perform in-person and online at the Zeiders American Dream Theater in April 2023. Teens will re-interpret local oral history through the lens of their own experiences with current events.

The program includes:

  • Writing workshops between October 2022 and April 2023.
  • Connections with the Hampton Roads, and new Virginia, Youth Poet Laureate programs.
  • Performance practice and rehearsals.
  • Opportunity to share their poetry at a public performance in April 2023 at the Zeiders American Dream Theater, which will also be streamed virtually on TWP and City of Virginia Beach social media channels. 

"Teens With a Purpose is excited to enter our third year of this partnership with Virginia Beach," said Deirdre Love, founder and executive director of Teens With a Purpose. "The program offers a priceless opportunity for us all to learn local history from local living legends whose lived experiences inspire the student writing. We witness people from different generations and backgrounds coming together through collaborative workshops, and we are so proud of our students as they grow through this creative journey."

Interested teens, educators or school poetry club leaders can register now to participate in the program. Teens and their parents/guardians can download registration forms, and learn more about this free program, at museumsvb.org, TWPTheMovement.org or by emailing info@twpthemovement.org.

The 2023 ImmortALL season will conclude with a free public performance live and online at the Zeiders American Dream Theater on Saturday, April 29, 2023, at 7 p.m. Tickets and online registration information to be announced. TWP workshops are supported in part by funding from the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission.

ABOUT TEENS WITH A PURPOSE

Teens With a Purpose was formed in 1996 by Deirdre Love. In 2007, Teens With a Purpose became TWP-The Youth Movement a 501(c) (3) non-profit youth development organization. The organization is celebrating over 21 years of experience in providing peer leadership training and has been recognized both regionally and nationally. Our mission is to create a platform that empowers young people to use their voice, creativity, reflection and action to affect personal growth, transform lives and impact communities.

TWP intersects youth development practices; civic engagement, peer leadership and high-quality artistic presentation creating safe inclusive spaces that challenge young people to find, develop, publicly present and apply their voices as creators of positive social change. TWP is committed to developing young leaders who positively impact their neighbors, classmates, schools, governments, congregations and one another.

ABOUT PRINCESS ANNE COUNTRY TRAINING SCHOOL/UNION KEMSVILLE HIGH SCHOOL MUSEUM

Princess Anne County Training School was the first high school for African Americans in Princess Anne County, now known as Virginia Beach. The school was a result of the African American community in the 1930s working together to raise money to build a school so their children could receive a proper education. The initial money raised was used to purchase four acres of land on Witchduck Road. The school board received the land, and $2000, but it made no attempt to build a school. As a result, in 1934, a temporary school was established on the property of Union Baptist Church. In 1938, a four-classroom high school was finally built and, between 1949 and 1962, several additions were made to the school. In 1962, the Princess Anne County Training School changed its name to Union Kempsville High School. After over 30 years of operation, Union Kempsville High School graduated its last class in 1969 due to the city-wide integration of schools. Today the legacy of the school continues with the establishment of the museum which shares stories of family, community, sacrifice, and the importance of education. The museum is located within Virginia Beach City Public Schools' Renaissance Academy.

ABOUT ZEIDERS AMERICAN DREAM THEATER

Zeiders American Dream Theater is a professional, non-profit theater that introduces new works and emerging artists, presents unique artistic experiences, and inspires creative growth in the Hampton Roads Community. The Z's founding principles are that creativity drives the growth of individuals and communities; and that the imagination, passion, and discipline of creation are universal requirements for all successful endeavors, artistic and otherwise. Our mission is accomplished through programming balanced between developing projects and artists, presenting regional, national and international artists, and community-driven events.

ABOUT THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH CULTURAL AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT:

The Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. The Department assists and directs the Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission, coordinates the City's Public Art Program, oversees the Virginia Beach History Museums, provides contract management for the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, serves as the liaison with Virginia MOCA and the ViBe Creative District, and serves as a resource to local arts and humanities organizations. 

ABOUT THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH HISTORY MUSEUMS:

The City of Virginia Beach history museums include the Thoroughgood House, the Francis Land House, the Lynnhaven House, and Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum. Virginia Beach History Museums is part of the City's Cultural Affairs Department. As part of the municipal government of the City of Virginia Beach, the Cultural Affairs Department engages residents and visitors through meaningful arts, heritage, and cultural experiences to connect and strengthen communities. Visit www.museumsvb.org for more information, and follow @VBHistoryMuseums on Facebook and Instagram, and @VBHistMuseums on Twitter, to stay up to date on all the events and news from Virginia Beach History Museums.

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