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Columbus Student Wins 2017 Ohio Poetry Out Loud State Finals

Madeleine Schroeder, a senior at Columbus Alternative High School (CAHS), won Ohio’s 12th annual Poetry Out Loud (POL) State Finals held on Saturday, March 4, at the Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center in Worthington, Ohio. Schroeder recited “The Gaffe” by C.K. Williams, “Snow Day” by Billy Collins, and “I Find No Peace” by Thomas Wyatt.

As the state champion, Schroeder earns a $300 prize and an all-expense-paid trip to represent Ohio in the 2017 National Finals in Washington, D.C., April 25-26. The total award pool is $50,000, including a $20,000 top prize for the national champion. The POL National Finals will feature students from every state as well as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C. 

Briana McGee, a junior at Springfield High School, placed as first runner-up and receives a $200 prize, as well as $200 for her school library. Magnus Saebo, a junior at Upper Arlington High School, placed as second runner-up and receives a $100 prize and $100 for his school library. Thanks to Schroeder’s success, the CAHS library will receive $500 to purchase poetry books.

All three state finalists receive a framed original print created by Cleveland artist Wendy Partridge. The print incorporates lines from the poem, “Good Bones” by Maggie Smith. Smith, author ofThe Well Speaks of Its Own PoisonLamp of the Body, and the forthcoming Weep Up, recited two 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.

This is the second time a student from CAHS, part of Columbus City Schools, has become state champion. The first Ohio POL state champion in 2006, Jackson Hille, went on to win the national championship and a prize of $20,000. Jamie Foley, head of the English department at CAHS, has participated since the program’s inception in 2006 and will accompany Schroeder to National Finals.

Nearly 200 teachers and 9,000 students from across Ohio participated in a POL program in 2016-17. Prior to the State Finals—when 12 Ohio finalists competed for state champion—Schroeder participated in the Central/Columbus regional semifinal on February 19. This is the first year that Ohio POL has increased to six regional semifinals through expanded partnerships. Learn more about POL’s regional expansion and partnerships at

The nation's largest youth poetry recitation competition is presented by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in partnership 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.

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

The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts—both new and established—bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education.


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