Columbus North High School student named Poetry Out Loud state champion; Bloomington High School South student Poetry Ourselves state champion

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Arts Commission (IAC), in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, announced today that Sreepadaarchana Munjuluri, a junior at Columbus North High School, is the 2023 Indiana Poetry Out Loud State Champion. Munjuluri will be representing Indiana in the 2023 Poetry Out Loud National Finals

Sreepadaarchana Munjuluri

This is Sreepada’s second year participating in Poetry Out Loud. Sreepada loves exploring literature, not just in English but also in her native language Telugu, and Sanskrit. In her free time, she plays the violin and practices the Bharatanatyam dance. In the future, she hopes to be a global health advocate and believes that communication through various mediums (such as poetry) is the key to solving the world’s problems, and is the most beautiful aspect of the human experience.

Munjuluri participated in Poetry Out Loud as part of the Indiana Humanities statewide outreach program.

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. The program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. This year, over 1,000 high school students across Indiana participated in Poetry Out Loud. Fourteen state finalists competed on March 4 for the title of State Champion. 

“The Poetry Out Loud program is a unique opportunity for students to show their talents and creativity through poetry recitation. The students participating in the competition have incredible skills, passion, and determination, and the program is a wonderful example of the powerful role that creativity plays in the classroom,” said Stephanie Haines, IAC Arts Education and Accessibility Manager.

Allison Mullett, a freshman at Eagle Tech Academy at Columbia City High School, was named the 2023 Indiana Poetry Out Loud 1st Runner Up. Aalihya Banks, a junior at Pike High School in Indianapolis, was named the 2nd Runner Up. 

Poetry Ourselves Winners

Poetry Ourselves Indiana is a statewide original poetry competition for high school students. The contest has two categories- written poetry and spoken word poetry.

The 2023 Poetry Ourselves state champion in the written category is Katelyn Saul, a senior from Northwestern High School with her poem “Dear Joseph.”

Katelyn Saul

The 1st Runner Up is Kate Jones, a senior from Herron High School with her poem, “Soon I’m going to leave you.” The 2nd Runner Up is Cory David, a sophomore from West Lafayette Junior Senior High School with the poem, “I Am America’s Child.”

The 2023 Poetry Ourselves state champion in the spoken category is Ashton Crosley, a freshman at Bloomington High School South with her poem, “Flawlessness is Fatal.”

Ashton Crosley

The 1st Runner Up was Hailie Woodring, a sophomore at Delta High School with her poem, “A Cursed Jumble of Thoughts.” The 2nd Runner Up in the spoken word category is Abigail Paul, a senior at Indiana Digital Learning School, with her poem, “My Last Night.” Ashton, Abigail, Kate, and Katelyn all performed their award-winning poems during the Poetry Out Loud State Finals competition.

Each of Indiana’s fourteen finalists, as well as the Poetry Ourselves champions and honorable mentions, received an original, unique Poetry Out Loud artwork designed by artist Emily Bennett. Sreepadaarchana will receive a $200 cash prize and her school will receive a $500 stipend to purchase poetry books. Both runners-up will also receive a cash prize and a stipend for their school to purchase poetry books.  

Sreepadaarchana will join students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa to recite poems on the virtual stage and compete for the title of National Champion. With the title comes a $20,000 prize.  

The 2023 Poetry Out Loud National finals will take place on May 8-10 in Washington, D.C.