Youthful Voices

Youthful Voices Storytelling Contest

The Virginia Rivers Youthful Voices Scholarship is a key component of the FSA Youthful Voices program.  Each year, young tellers and their chaperones attend the Florida Storytelling Festival on a scholarship that includes lodging and registration.  Their weekend of learning, listening, and networking culminates in the Youthful Voices Concert – a highlight of the Florida Storytelling Festival weekend.


Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Youthful Voices Storytelling Contest.

You can hear them tell their stories at the festival on Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 7 p.m.
on the lawn of Lakeside Inn in Mount Dora.


10-year-old Aristides Bakamitsos spends his summers in Greece, where he listens and learns from his favorite storyteller, Aunt Nancy. He plays the viola and participates in musical theater. Last year he played Mufasa in his school’s production of The Lion King. Aristides loves traveling, swimming and competing on his school’s Mathletes team.


Jonah Bloom, 9, is in 3rd grade at Dommerich Elementary in Maitland. He loves drama and has appeared on stage in The Lion King (Scar), Beauty & The Beast (Lumiere), among others. He also loves making and editing movies, playing with Legos, drawing, and reading.


Cooper Chapman is a 13 year old 7th grade student at the Mount Dora Christian Academy. Cooper started acting professionally at 4 years old, when he booked his first commercial campaign for Sea World. He has since gone on to book multiple commercials, print, film and voice overs. Besides acting, Cooper loves sports – he plays baseball and basketball for his school and the local rec league. Cooper also has 3 older sisters who love supporting their little brother in whatever he does!


Muryum Firoz is in in 4th grade.  One of her favorite hobbies is acting and when she found out you get to act in storytelling she really wanted to do it. In addition to acting, Muryum also loves to write poems and songs, and design clothes and rooms. She loves building legos and solving puzzles.  She is also a gymnast, a Girl Scout and a ‘gifted’ student.


Jocelyn Ivey is 9 years old and from Valrico, FL.  She has loved listening to stories since she was 1 and started reading when she was 3. One of her favorite things to do is read. She also enjoys dance and theater.  She is a member of the Clogging Connection Competition Team and has won many individual and team awards. She has been part of the Hillsborough County Storytelling Festival for the past 2 years and absolutely loves it because, as she says, “it is fun to share a story with others.”


Carter Krell is a 4th grader at Madison Creative Arts Academy in Madison, Florida, where his favorite subject is math.  Carter enjoys playing drums.  He is a member of Cub Scouts Pack 606 and is active in his church, First Baptist Church of Madison. Carter “accidentally” ventured into storytelling when a story he wrote for a class assignment was selected for this year’s Madison County Tellabration event.


Tilly Raij is thrilled to have been awarded the Florida Storytelling Association’s 2018 Virginia Rivers Youthful Voices Scholarship and to share her story at the Florida Storytelling Festival. A third grader at Dommerich Elementary in Maitland, Tilly participates in the Dommerich Storytelling Troupe, Kindness Club, her Girl Scout Brownies troop, and Theatre South at the JCC of Greater Orlando. She also loves to draw, ride her bike, swim, and hang with friends. Tilly is grateful for the support of her family, friends, guinea pig Nutmeg, and dog Ruby.