PIQUA — OPiqua Arts Council held the West Central Ohio Regional Finals for National Endowment for the Arts’ Poetry Out Loud competition on Thursday, Feb. 9. The competition took place at Edison State Community College, and brought five students from the 12-county region.
2023 competitors included Savannah Baughman,sophomore, Christian Academy Schools; Trista Boeke, senior, Piqua High School; Amaira Cochran, junior, Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School; Hiba Loukssi, senior, Xenia High School; and Thomas Schmiesing, senior, Lehman Catholic High School. Each student competed in two rounds of poetry recitation for judges Nicolay Dorsett, Dan Rosenbaum, Joe Shaffer and John Simon.
Participants chose poems from an online catalog featuring well-known poets and pieces. This year’s selections included work by William Blake, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Alfred Lord Tennyson and William Shakespeare among others.
After a word from Arts Learning Coordinator and our state’s Poetry Out Loud Coordinator, Chiquita Mullins Lee of the Ohio Arts Council, the winners were announced. The winners of this round of the competition will move onto the State competition next month to compete for a spot at the national level.
The champion of the West Central Ohio Regional Finals and moving onto the State Competition was senior, Hiba Loukssi from Xenia High School. Following behind her in second place was senior Trista Boeke from Piqua High School, who will be joining Loukssi at State. It was a close competition as each student presented an excellent night of poetry recitation and celebration of the literary arts, with just two points separating second and third place.
Loukssi and Boeke will compete in the State Finals on Friday, March 10 at 6 p.m. in WOSU Public Media’s Ross Community Room in Columbus. The event is free and open to the public, and all guests are encouraged to attend in support of these local students.
This competition was sponsored by National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation and Ohio Arts Council. Each student was presented with a gift bag packed with poetry books, gift certificates and PAC swag, thanks to the generosity of Cinemark Theatres, Elite Etc., Jay & Mary’s Bookstore, Scott’s Family McDonalds and Winans Fine Chocolates + Coffees. PAC would also like to recognize Edison State Community College for providing their theatre for the evening, as well as the school teachers and coordinators, Deborah Allen from Piqua High School, Jennifer Burgess from Xenia High School, Sarah Fryer from Christian Academy Schools, Beth Marshall from Chaminade Julienne High School and Zachary Sanford from Lehman Catholic High School.
This year’s competition will be available on the Piqua Arts Council’s Facebook and YouTube page. Photos were provided by Ganger Images and can be viewed on the PAC Facebook page. For more information, visit www.PiquaArtsCouncil.org/poetry-out-loud.