Finalists Announced in Lyric Education’s 5th Annual Dream Big Contest

Student finalists are invited to share their works on stage on April 18th 

The Lyric Baltimore has announced the twelve finalists in their 5th annual Dream Big Contest. The contest, which kicked off in January on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, asks Baltimore-area students in grades 5-12 to consider their big dreams—for their lives, communities, and schools—then submit a one-page poem, 300-word essay, or 1-minute video bringing that dream to life. This year’s finalists were selected by resident artist and adjudicator, Fanon Hill, of the Youth Resiliency Institute.

“The Lyric Education team is so proud of all of our 2022 Dream Big Contest finalists,” said Denise Kumani Gantt, Director of Education at the Lyric Baltimore. “These students have put in the work to imagine impressive, creative solutions to real-life inequities they and others face in their lives. We are always moved by the vision of young people in our community, and can’t wait for them to be able to share their dreams on-stage with an audience.”

In-person for the first time since going virtual in 2020 and 2021, this year’s finalists will be announced as either “Visionaries” (grand prize winners) or “Dreamers” (runners-up) at an Awards Celebration on Monday, April 18, 2022, hosted by WBAL-TV anchor Jason Newton, and aired on WBAL-TV 11. Maryland State Senator, Cory V. McCray, District 45, will provide the program’s keynote address, and an opening performance will be given by local spoken word artist, Sha-Shonna Rogers. For the first time, a “Believer” award will be presented to an educator in the Baltimore community for their dedication to arts education and unwavering commitment to their students. This year’s “Believer” award will be presented to Chan’nel Howard, Fine Arts Coordinator for Baltimore City Schools.

This year’s Visionaries will have the opportunity to share their winning works, live on-stage in the historic theatre. The six Visionaries announced during the celebration will receive a prize package estimated at $750 in value, and the Dreamers in attendance will also win awards and be welcomed on-stage.

This year’s student finalists are:

  • Joshua Sharp, Grade 12, The Community School
  • BellaGrace Annibal, Grade 6, Homeschooled
  • Grayson Bess, Grade 5, Calvert School
  • Chiemela Nwokoro, Grade 10, Eastern Technical High School
  • Xin Yue Lu, Grade 10, Dulaney High School
  • Graham TerBeek, Grade 6, Dumbarton Middle School
  • Fatou Diouf, Grade 11, Baltimore City College
  • Asia Webster, Grade 9, Baltimore City College
  • Jamya Anderson, Grade 5, Dallas F. Nicholas Elementary School
  • Joy Onchera, Grade 6, The Belair-Edison School
  • Carrie Snowden, Grade 11, Baltimore Design School
  • Carmyn Harvin, Grade 11, Kenwood High School

This year, WBAL-TV is a Media Partner of the Dream Big Contest, and other sponsors include BGE, Bank of America, Comcast, Greenberg Gibbons, and Whiting-Turner. “We are so thankful for our sponsors that have made Dream Big possible once again in 2022,” said Jonathan Schwartz, Executive Director of the Lyric Baltimore. “Organizations that support the imagination and voice of young people in our communities are critical to what we do.”

The Dream Big Awards Celebration at the Lyric Baltimore is free to attend and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 pm, and the program begins at 7:00 pm. For more information and to RSVP, go to or

About The Lyric Foundation 

The Lyric Foundation is a non-profit organization operating and maintaining the Lyric Baltimore, a live entertainment venue located in the Mount Vernon neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland. A cornerstone of the arts community since 1894, The Lyric presents a variety of music, dance, comedy, youth centric and educational programming of the highest quality to diverse audiences in the greater Baltimore and Maryland region.

The Lyric has hosted historic and amazing performances by Robin Williams, Alvin Ailey-American Dance Theater, Bill Maher, Patton Oswalt, Dave Chappelle, Disney Jr. Dance Party. The Lyric has hosted concerts by Aretha Franklin, Santana, The Grateful Dead, Journey, Chicago, Ringo Starr, Doobie Brothers, Diana Ross, Joe Bonamassa, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit and more.

The Lyric Education Department knows that training in the arts can transform a young person’s life. Our in-school and summer programs are supported by the belief that every person has a unique and important story to share. Offerings include our MLK Dream BIG contest, Horizons Theater Workshop and Rising Up! program.

For more information, please visit