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Anna Kahle, a junior at Lima Central Catholic High School and Ohio Poetry Out Loud  state champion

Lima Student Wins 2019 Ohio Poetry Out Loud State Finals

Anna Kahle of Lima Central Catholic High School Wins Title of State Champion, Will Compete at Nationals in Washington, D.C.

Anna Kahle, a junior at Lima Central Catholic High School, will represent Ohio at the 2019 Poetry Out Loud national finals April 30 – May 1 in Washington, D.C. Photo credit: Terry GilliamA night of poetry and performance at Columbus’ King Arts Complex ended with the crowning of a new state champion.

Anna Kahle, a junior at Lima Central Catholic High School, was named the 2019 Ohio Poetry Out Loud (POL) state champion March 8 at Ohio’s 14th annual POL state finals competition.

As the state champion, Kahle earned an all-expense-paid trip to the 2019 national finals, held April 30 – May 1. 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.

“I have so much gratitude for my parents, my teacher, my school for supporting me, and the judges. I’m just feeling gratitude for everyone,” Kahle said following the presentation of state finals awards. “I’m looking forward to traveling. I love to travel. And being in D.C., I haven’t been there since my eighth-grade trip, and this will be my first time there without a bus full of students, so it’ll be really cool! I just can’t believe it.”

Kahle’s winning performance consisted of three poems: “Enough” by Suzanne Buffam, “Now I Pray” by Kathy Engel, and “Early Affection” by George Moses Horton.

2019 Ohio Poetry Out Loud State Champion Anna Kahle with her teacher, Kent Krogman. Photo credit: Terry GilliamOf the three poems she selected, Kahle said she favors Engel’s “Now I Pray,” which she recited in the second round of competition. The poem depicts the narrator’s encounter with a homeless man and a boy searching for a church that might offer them a meal.

“It is so powerful and so moving …. I think everyone has felt a time when they’ve wanted to help someone but they can’t, or they look back on a time when they could’ve helped someone but they didn’t,” Kahle said. “I think it’s very relatable and poignant.”

Thirteen Ohio finalists competed at the state finals for the title of state champion following their participation in one of six regional semifinal events.

“Ohio’s Poetry Out Loud program truly shows how lucky we are to have talented and dedicated young artists residing in our state. It is an honor to see and hear the students perform their poetry recitations with such passion and reverence, and I am impressed each year by the hard work that goes into sharing these beautiful works of poetry,” said Ohio Arts Council Executive Director Donna S. Collins. “We would like to thank all the students who participated in Ohio’s competition at the local, regional, and state levels. We wish Anna the best at the national finals, and we are so proud to have her representing Ohio this year.”

(Left to right) 2019 Ohio Poetry Out Loud third-place winner Emily Enyame of Westerville Central High School, 2019 Ohio Poetry Out Loud second-place winner Dylan Abel of Bexley High School, and 2019 Ohio Poetry Out Loud state champion Anna Kahle of Lima Central Catholic High School. Photo credit: Terry GilliamIn addition to the trip to nationals, Kahle also received a $300 prize, and the Lima Central Catholic High School library will receive $500 to purchase poetry books.

Dylan Abel of Bexley High School earned second place at the state finals. He received a $200 prize, as well as $200 for his school library.

Emily Enyame of Westerville Central High School placed third in the competition and received a $100 prize and $100 for her school library.

In recognition of their performance at the competition, the top three state finalists received a framed original print created by Cleveland artist Wendy Partridge. The print incorporated lines from the poem “Amor Fati” by Ruth Awad, an award-winning poet residing in Columbus. Awad, a Lebanese-American poet, editor, and author of the Ohioana Book Award-winning poetry collection Set to Music a Wildfire, 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 in 2014, emceed the event. Throughout the ceremony, Kearney praised the genuine camaraderie among the finalists, noting that it was inspiring to watch the students congratulate one another after each round of recitation.

hirteen students competed at the 2019 Ohio Poetry Out Loud state finals at the King Arts Complex in Columbus on March 8. Pictured are the 13 state finalists with Ohio Arts Council Executive Director Donna S. Collins (far left), Former Ohio State Senator Eric H. Kearney (center), and Ohio Arts Council Arts Learning Coordinator Chiquita Mullins Lee (far right). Photo credit: Terry GilliamAs a three-time POL state finalist, Kahle said the new friendships formed throughout the evening among those participating is always one of the highlights of the POL experience.

“Something I learned is that we all have a lot of things in common. It takes a lot of courage to do this,” she said. “It’s important for us to support each other because it is really hard to go on stage and recite something and be so vulnerable, especially if it’s something you’re really connected to. It’s really important to support each other and affirm each other because we made it to the state level, so, obviously (everyone is) good, and it’s important to remind each other of that.”

A full list of students participating in the 2019 Ohio POL state finals follows:

Zoe Douglas, North Royalton High School
Dylan Abel, Bexley High School
Gracie Miller, Logan High School
Emily Enyame, Westerville Central High School
Scarlet Frishman, Toledo School for The Arts
Madelyn Feeney, Seton High School
Anna Kelly, Kettering Fairmont High School
Kirsten Stinson, John Glenn High School
Anna Kahle, Lima Central Catholic High School
Alexander Flood, The Lyceum
Lia Repucci, Upper Arlington High School
Agnes Guiselin, Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School
Riley Brown, Mt. Notre Dame High School

Find more information about POL at A livestream of the national finals will be made available at April 30 and May 1.

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.

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


Article by Amanda Etchison, Communications Strategist
Featured ​photo by Terry Gilliam

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