Taribo Osuobeni, a senior at Westerville Central High School, has won the eighth annual Poetry Out Loud competition for Ohio, hosted by the Ohio Arts Council at the Matesich Theatre on the campus of Ohio Dominican University. The 18-year-old triumphed on Saturday, March 16, with recitations of On Quitting, by Edgar Albert Guest, No Coward Soul is Mine, by Emily Bronte, and The Craftsman, by Marcus B. Christian. He won $300 and an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest in Washington, D.C. April 29-30. Westerville Central received a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books for its library.
The competition starts at the classroom level where more than 7,000 students participated in their school contests this year. Students memorize a poem and recite it before a panel of judges who score them in the following areas: physical presence, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, level of difficulty, evidence of understanding, accuracy and overall performance. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.