2019 Ohio Poetry Out Loud Region Semifinals Held at Cleveland Public Library

A very special thank you to John Skrtic, Director, Main Library & Research, whose support made this year’s event at Cleveland Public Library possible.

On Saturday, February 2, 2019 the Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library (OCFB), in partnership with the Ohio Arts Council, hosted the Poetry Out Loud Northeast/Cleveland Ohio Regional Semifinals. Students from five schools performed before an audience that included family members, teachers and friends. Each student had to choose and memorize two poems, being careful to adhere to strict guidelines while in performance.

The program started with introductions and comments by John Skrtic, Director of Main Library & Research at Cleveland Public Library, Chiquita Mullins Lee, Arts Learning Coordinator, Ohio Arts Council, and poet Kisha Nicole Foster, OCFB Poetry Out Loud Fellow, who was also Emcee.
The first place winner this year is Alexander Flood (The Lyceum) and second place winner is Zoe Douglas (North Royalton High School). As regional finalist, these two students will represent the the Northeast region, their schools and communities at the Ohio Poetry Out Loud State Finals on Friday, March 8, 2019, at the King Arts Complex Nicholson Theatre, 867 Mt. Vernon Avenue, Columbus, OH. The Ohio State Champion will then advance to the National Poetry Out Loud Finals in Washington, DC. Good luck Alex and Zoe!

Poetry Out Loud, 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. We are also grateful to family members, friends, and the community at large for their support of this program. Learn more about Poetry Out Loud.

Prizes. The winner at the state level will receive $300 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC to compete for the national championship. The state winner’s school will receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. Two runners-up will receive a cash prize for themselves and for their school libraries. Additionally, a total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends is given annually at the National Finals, including a $20,000 cash prize for the Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

Donna S. Collins, Executive Director, Ohio Arts Council; Chiquita Mullins Lee, Arts Learning Coordinator, Ohio Arts Council; Catherine Young, photographer; Lead Teachers: Colleen Hogan, The Lyceum; Julie Zavesky & Sherri Hufford, Medina High School; Charles Kelly, Shaker Heights High School; Judges: Stephanie Ginese; Ray McNiece; MaxWell Shell; Accuracy Checker: Eric Odum and Scorekeeper: Valentino Zullo.