2016 Ohio Poetry Out Loud Contest

Ohio POL marked the start of its second decade by adding three semifinal contests in Cleveland, Columbus, and Dayton--followed by a state-level competition in Columbus. Forty school champions competed in the three semifinals. Twelve were named state finalists and advanced to compete in the State Finals.

National Finals

Ohio state champion Thomas Ellison, a senior at Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School in Dayton, competed in the Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington D.C. on May 3, 2016. Although he was not chosen to advance from his semifinal, his recitations were excellent and much praised.

 thomas ellison reciting poetry


State Finals

March 19, 2016 at the WOSU studios at COSI (Center of Science and Industry), Columbus


State Finalists: [Back row from left] Genevieve Urban, Ali Ziegler, Bridget Bowman, Thomas Ellison [Middle row from left] Ashley Stull, Meara Maccabee, Chelsea Hayden, Briana McGee [Front row from left] Eboni Bays-Holley, Noah Martin, Natalie Keyes, Corrina Mullins

ohio poetry out loud state finalists

Judges: Steve Abbott, Rose Smith, Alan Cohen

Emcee: former state senator Eric H. Kearney


DAYTON SEMIFINALFebruary 29, 2016 at the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center


State Finalists: Thomas Ellison, Briana McGee, Ashley Stull

Judges: Nancy Kangas, Karen Maner, Alan Bomar Jones

Emcee: Gregg Smith, ranger at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park


students on stage at the dayton semifinal competition


CLEVELAND SEMIFINAL |  March 3, 2016 at the Louis Stokes Auditorium, Cleveland Public Library


State Finalists: Chelsea Hayden, Corrina Mullins, Genevieve Urban

Judges: Nancy Kangas, Alan Bomar Jones, David Hassler

Emcee: Amy Dawson, manager, Ohio Center for the Book


students on stage at the cleveland semifinal


COLUMBUS SEMIFINALMarch 5, 2016 at the Ohio History Center


State finalists: Eboni Bays-Holley, Bridget Bowman, Natalie Keyes, Meara Maccabee, Noah Martin, Ali Ziegler

Judges: Nancy Kangas, Ann Hall, Caira Lee

Emcee: Jodie Engle, Ohio History Connection


students on stage at the columbus semifinal

School Champions 

Courtney Braun, senior
Archbishop Alter High School, Kettering

Corrina Mullins, freshman
Archbishop Hoban High School, Akron

Monique Kamara, sophomore
Beechcroft High School, Columbus

Bridget Bowman, senior
Bloom Carroll High School, Carroll

Brianna Pasco, sophomore
Buckeye Local High School, Rayland

Rebecca Carlson, junior
Canal Winchester High School, Canal Winchester

Daniel Ritter, senior
Catholic Central High School, Springfield

Katie Thrasher, junior
Centennial High School, Columbus

Destiny McFarland, sophomore
Central High School, Columbus

Thomas Ellison, senior
Chaminade-Julienne High School, Dayton

Madeleine Schroeder, junior
Columbus Alternative High School, Columbus

Natalie Keyes, junior
Columbus School for Girls, Columbus

Jamia Martin, freshman
Cristo Rey Columbus High School, Columbus

Chelsea Hayden, senior
Ellet High School, Akron

Josiah Haugen, junior
Gahanna Christian Academy, Gahanna

Eleanor Mullins, senior
John Glenn High School, New Concord

Amber Alexander, junior
Kenton Ridge High School, Springfield

Ashley Stull, junior
Kettering Fairmont High School, Kettering

Matthew Rohan, sophomore
Lima Central Catholic High School, Lima

Nathan Kudlapur, senior
Logan High School, Logan

Gracie Hardy, sophomore
Madison Comprehensive High School, Mansfield

Elizabeth McMillan, junior
Medina High School, Medina

Ammon Keller, senior
Millersport High School, Millersport

Molly Grayson, senior
Mother of Mercy High School, Cincinnati

Nicole Creekmore, senior
Newark Digital Academy, Newark

Jillian Vicknair, junior
Ohio Virtual Academy, Maumee

Ali Ziegler, junior
Olentangy High School, Lewis Center

Julia Nelson, senior
Purcell Marian High School, Cincinnati

Amari Savage, junior
St. Francis DeSales High School, Columbus

MaKenzie Ruff, junior
Seton High School, Cincinnati

Andrew Roth, junior
Shaker Heights High School, Shaker Heights

Briana McGee, sophomore
Springfield High School, Springfield

Shaila Scites, senior
Tallmadge High School, Tallmadge

Genevieve Urban, sophomore
The Lyceum, South Euclid

Lora Sahmarani, sophomore
Toledo Early College High School, Toledo

Meara Maccabee, senior
Upper Arlington High School, Upper Arlington

Allie Mihm, senior
Vantage Career Center, Van Wert

Charlie Kolodziej, sophomore
Western Reserve Academy, Hudson

Noah Martin, sophomore
Westerville Central High School, Westerville

Eboni Bays-Holley, senior
Whetstone High School, Columbus