Meet the 2020 POL state competitors

From Melissa Moody, Arts Build Communities Coordinator –

The 2020 Tennessee Poetry Out Loud (POL) Competition will be held TN State Museum on Saturday, March 14, 2020. The contest begins at 10:00 a.m. and is free and open to the public.

Meet the nineteen students will be participating from across the state:

  • Ava Adams is a sophomore at Haywood High School in Brownsville. Ava enjoys singing and acting in local theater. She and her family attend Zion Baptist Church. Ava plans to become a psychologist after high school.
  • Jacob Altrock is a senior at Harding Academy in Memphis who loves science, traveling, and all things music. He has played the leading man with a whistle in The Sound of Music and the short, pompous Lord Farquaad in Shrek, the Musical. He is an All-State tenor who hopes to major in chemistry and theater.
  • Varsha Babu is a senior at Farragut High School and has lived in Knoxville for the past six years. Her pastimes include reading, playing the cello, and knitting. She hopes to study theatre in college next year. She loves poetry and looks forward to conveying the timeless messages of these great poets.
  • LaNa’e Campbell is a freshman at Cane Ridge High School in Antioch who is always smiling. LaNa’e signed up for Poetry Out Loud with her sister, MeKiah, and actually won the competition on her mom’s birthday. Let’s just say poetry and spoken word are a shared experience in the Campbell household.
  • Ainsley Feeney is a junior at Arlington High School in Memphis. She is a fierce lover of Jeopardy, bad movies, and her pet rock, Bartholomew. She is the President of PERIOD @ 901 Memphis making the difference in lives of women. Ainsley plans to pursue psychology and social justice after high school.
  • Denise Geronimo is a senior at St. Agnes Academy in Memphis. She is currently the president of her school’s Student Government and participates in tennis. Her favorite food is steak and favorite color is lilac. This is her second time competing in the State POL Competition and could not be more excited.
  • Kendall Grimes is a sophomore at Battle Ground Academy in Franklin and is excited to be back at Poetry Out Loud this year. She is an honors student, a four-sport athlete, poet, student leader, and the 2019 Poetry Out Loud State Champion.
  • Anna Howard is a senior at Clarksville High and will be attending Austin Peay State University in the fall to study nursing. This is her first year to be involved in Poetry Out Loud, she participates in volleyball, tennis and multiple clubs, and represents Nauru at Model United Nations.
  • Sarah Howell is a senior at Hardin Valley Academy in Knoxville, Tennessee. She loves choir and theatre, friends and family, and poetry and is honored and grateful to be performing today.
  • Rebecca Montroy is a freshman at Brighton High School in Brighton. Rebecca competed in Poetry Out Loud because poetry has been a form of escape for her. Writing poetry provides unlimited possibilities and represents a deeper, more intense version of the written word.
  • Sonny Morales is a freshman at Oakland High School. Sonny is in Theatre 1 class and loves to act. He has a creative way of playing and speaking like different characters. With an enigmatic personality, his decisions affect stage presence in a way where he dominates the acting space.
  • Shelby Parie is a freshman at Collierville High School in Collierville. She loves working with children at her church and bingeing episodes of Friends. She is an amateur sleuth, who tries to deduce Sherlock Holmes mysteries before the famous detective, and she is eagerly awaiting an upcoming trip to Hawaii.
  • Milla Smith is a freshman at Mt. Pleasant High School in Mt. Pleasant. She loves theatre, art, and procrastination in equal measures.
  • Molly Stanfield is a junior at Baylor School in Chattanooga, TN. She currently enjoys studying films, folklore, and storytelling. She would like to further explore the cultural impact of folklore on a global scale.
  • Makyah Stinson is a freshman at Nashville School of Arts in Nashville where she is a part of the Theatre Conservatory. She loves acting and poetry because they are both ways of expressing oneself, so she felt that Poetry Out Loud was the perfect blend of the two mediums.
  • Jolinne Videau is a freshman at Rockvale High School in Murfreesboro. Jolinne is an honors student and enjoys reading suspense novels and playing with her dog, Troy. She loves poetry and is very excited about participating in Poetry Out Loud and making new friends from across the state.
  • Summer Vo is a senior at Franklin Road Academy in Nashville. She competed in Poetry Out Loud last year and is very excited to be back again. She wants to thank her family and best friends for coming to support her again this year.
  • Chase Walsh is a junior at Clayton-Bradley Academy in Knoxville. He is a laidback kind of person who enjoys sports of every kind––but mostly tennis––and loves competing in all sorts of things. Chase would not be classified as an artsy type, but he is quite the character. 
  • Jon Wich is a junior at Central Magnet School in Murfreesboro and enjoys the theater.