Poetry Out Loud

Encouraging youth poetry

Poetry Out Loud (POL) is a national poetry recitation competition and educational program that encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. This free program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about our literary heritage. Students also have the opportunity to compete for an expenses paid trip to Washington DC and over $50,000 in scholarships and prizes.

Due to COVID-19, there are elements of the Poetry Out Loud program that will look a little different this school year. In order to ensure the safety and health of participating students and staff, the 2021 Kansas Poetry Out Loud program and the Poetry Out Loud National Finals will be held virtually. At this time, the dates for the virtual 2021 National Finals are still to be determined but will take place in the Spring as a video submission-based competition.


Deb Kohn, Kansas Poetry Out Loud Co-Coordinator



Cheryl Germann, Kansas Poetry Out Loud Co-Coordinator


School Competitions & At-Large Entries

State Finals

The state winner will receive $200 and the right to compete in the national Poetry Out Loud finals. The state winner’s school will receive $500 for poetry materials. The runner-up will receive $100; his or her school will receive $200 for the purchase of poetry materials. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends will be given at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals, including a $20,000 award for the National Champion, $10,000 for 2nd place, $5,000 for 3rd place, and $1,000 for 4th-12th places.

How Do I Get Involved?

All Kansas high schools are invited to participate.

  • POL is free of charge!
  • Students compete for thousands of dollars in scholarships and prizes.
  • POL meets many Kansas ELA and Theatre standards, as well as NCTE standards.
  • KCAIC provides personalized assistance to help teachers get started and carry out the program.

For more information contact kcaic@ks.gov.

(Pictured: 2020 State Champion Santiago Vasquez)

Additional Resources

POL Media Release Form
2020-21 Kansas Regions

Region 1 ~ Regional Coordinator: Cynthia Roth, Olathe  crothos@olatheschools.org

Atchison, Brown, Doniphan, Douglas, Jackson, Jefferson, Leavenworth, Lyon, Marshall, Morris, Nemaha, Osage, Pottawatomie, Riley, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Johnson, Wyandotte

Region 2 ~ Regional Coordinator:  Cheryl Germann, Tipton cherylgermann@gmail.com

Barton, Clay, Cloud, Cheyenne, Decatur, Dickinson, Ellis, Ellsworth, Gove, Graham, Geary, Jewell, Lincoln, Logan, Mitchell, Morris, Norton, Ottawa, Osborne, Phillips, Rawlins, Republic, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Saline, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Thomas, Trego, Wallace, Washington

Region 3 ~ Regional Coordinator:  Stacy Chestnut, Wichita schestnut@usd259.net

Barber, Butler, Chase, Clark, Comanche, Cowley, Edwards, Finney, Ford, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Harper, Harvey, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Lane, Marion, McPherson, Meade, Morton, Ness, Pawnee, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Scott, Sedgwick, Seward, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens, Sumner, Wichita

Region 4 ~ Regional Coordinator:  Julie Aikins, Chanute jaikins711@gmail.com

Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Coffey, Crawford, Elk, Franklin, Greenwood, Labette, Linn, Miami, Montgomery, Neosho, Wilson, Woodson

Kansas Past Winners

2021: Garrett McLaughlin – Shawnee Mission West High School
2020: Santiago Vasquez – Salina South High School
2019: Khadija Ceesay – Olathe South High School
2018: Bella L’Heureux – Blue Valley High School
2017: Sarah Katsiyiannis – Tipton Catholic High School
2016: Sarah Katsiyiannis – Tipton Catholic High School
2015: Leanne Chun – Olathe South High School
2014: Leanne Chun – Olathe South High School
2013: Aaron Brown – Shawnee Mission West High School
2012: Cody Keener – Baldwin High School
2011: Casha Gloria Mills – Shawnee Mission North High School
2010: Casha Gloria Mills – Shawnee Mission North High School
2009: Madeline Rogers – Baldwin High School
2008: Madeline Rogers – Baldwin High School
2007: Patrick Kuhn – Salina Central High School
2006: Andrew Toburen – Cair Paravel Latin School, Topeka