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Dayton Student Wins 2018 Ohio Poetry Out Loud State Finals

Dayton Student Wins 2018 Ohio Poetry Out Loud State Finals

Caroline Delaney of Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School Will Represent Ohio at the 2018 Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington D.C., April 23-25

COLUMBUS, Ohio – March 6, 2018

Ohio has a new Poetry Out Loud (POL) state champion.

Caroline Delaney, a senior at Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School in Dayton, won Ohio’s 13th annual POL State Finals held on March 3 at the King Arts Complex in Columbus, Ohio.

Delaney recited “Plaint in a Major Key” by Jorge Sanchez, “The American Soldier” by Philip Freneau, and “Planetarium” by Adrienne Rich.

“I found ‘Planetarium,’ and that poem … is about Caroline Herschel, who was an astronomer. Every word and every line in the poem is a reference to something about her or astronomy,” said Delaney, who plans to attend Miami University to study neuroscience on a pre-med track. “(The poem) is just really interesting and it captured my attention and it was something I could really see myself doing.”

Eleven Ohio finalists competed at the State Finals for the title of state champion following their participation in one of six regional semifinal events held throughout the state in February.

“Now in its 13th year, Ohio’s POL program once again joins with high school students and their teachers, state arts agencies, and the National Endowment for the Arts nationwide to celebrate poetry in all its forms. We know this program provides a high level of engagement for students and is one more opportunity for them to be immersed in arts education,” said Ohio Arts Council Executive Director Donna S. Collins. “We are thrilled with the commitment by Ohio’s students to POL and congratulate all who participated at the local, regional, and state levels. We now have the honor of cheering Caroline all the way to Washington D.C., as she represents Ohio at the National Finals in April.”

As the state champion, Delaney earned a $300 prize and an all-expense-paid trip to the 2018 National Finals, held April 23-25. The national competition will feature students from every state as well as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Washington D.C. The total award pool is $50,000, including a $20,000 top prize for the national champion.

Delaney said she is excited to compete in the nation’s capital.

“I am just looking forward to being able to say that I represent my state and having all these people behind me,” she said. “I would like to thank my mother and my father. They’ve signed me up for acting classes, they’ve sat me down at the foot of the bed and made me recite until my brain hurt ….They’ve made sure I knew what I was doing and was confident in my own ability.”

Thanks to Delaney’s success at the State Finals, the Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School library will receive $500 to purchase poetry books.

Anna Kahle, a sophomore at Lima Central Catholic High School, earned second place at the State Finals. She received a $200 prize, as well as $200 for her school library.

Magnus Saebo, a senior at Upper Arlington High School who placed third in the competition, received a $100 prize and $100 for his school library.

All three state finalists received a framed original print created by Dayton artist Patrick Mauk. The print incorporated lines from the poem “River on Fire” by Ohio Poet Laureate Dave Lucas. Lucas, an instructor at Case Western Reserve University and author of Weather, recited three poems for the audience during State Finals.

Former State Senator Eric H. Kearney of Cincinnati, who sponsored and secured passage of legislation creating the position of Ohio Poet Laureate, emceed the event.

Delaney, who first participated in POL as a freshman, said she hopes to share her passion for poetry with her peers by emphasizing its prevalence in everyday life.

“Poetry isn’t something that a lot of kids these days really care about, but what they don’t really understand is … everybody loves music, but music is poetry and vice versa. We all have poetry in our life that we love and enjoy,” she said. “Overall, Poetry Out Loud has taught me that there is always something you can learn and that every word you say has a meaning to it. You just have to find it and convey it.”


The nation’s largest youth poetry recitation competition is presented by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in partneship with the Ohio Arts Council. The Poetry Out Loud program encourages high school students to learn about great poetry, master public-speaking skills, build self-confidence, and study their literary heritage.

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit to learn more about NEA.

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at


Photo Credit: Terry Gilliam Photography
Article by Amanda Etchison, Communications Strategist

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