State finalist announced for Poetry Competition’s West Central Ohio Region


For the Miami Valley Today

PIQUA — Piqua Arts Council was thrilled for the opportunity to host the West Central Ohio Regional Finals for the National Poetry Out Loud Competition on the night of Thursday, Feb. 10. The event took place at the Upper Valley Career Center’s Hartzell Auditorium, and it featured students from Piqua High School, Xenia High School, Newton High School, and Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School.

Competitors in the 2022 Poetry Out Loud West Central Ohio Regional Finals were Isabella Reyes (Senior, Piqua High School), Hiba Loukssi (Junior, Xenia High School), Molly Norman (Senior, Newton High School), and Amaira Cochran (Sophomore, Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School). Each student performed in two rounds of poetry recitation for judges Kevin Milner, Jamie Suttle, and Countess Winfrey, as well as accuracy judge, Nate Funderburg. Each judge performed as a part of the competition beginning with an expressive dance routine performed by Countess Winfrey, followed by two finger-plucked, acoustic songs by Kevin Milner, and singer-songwriter, Jamie Suttle, and her accompaniment, Tim Yanney.

After a wonderful performance from each artist and competitor of the evening, the winner of the West Central Ohio Regional Finals was announced. Moving onto the 2022 State Finals will be champion, Amaira Cochran of Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School, with her poems, “Abcedarian Requiring Further Examination of Anglikan Seraphym Subjugation of a Wild Indian Rezervation” by Natalie Diaz and “Respectability” by Tina Boyer Brown. The state finals will be held virtually on March 4.

This competition was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation and Ohio Arts Council. Each student and judge was presented with giftbags as a part of the event, which was sponsored by Elite Etc., Jay & Mary’s Bookstore, Premier Health – Upper Valley Medical Center, Scott’s Family McDonalds and Winans Chocolates & Coffees.

The 2022 competition will be available on the Piqua Arts Council’s Facebook and YouTube pages. The Piqua Arts Council gave a special thank you to Indian Nation Station for providing media production for the event. For more information, visit

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