2021 TN POL State Finalists

Ainsley Feeney is a dedicated senior at Arlington High School, a community organizer for Period901 and other important causes and is a determined Poetry Out Loud participant. She was the school champion last year when the pandemic hit and came back again this year for our school’s virtual contest. She plans to take her public speaking skills to college where she will be a political science major and perhaps our future president!


Samantha Cheek is a senior at Clayton-Bradley Academy, where she is involved in orchestra and volleyball. In her free time, she enjoys painting, playing music, and going on drives with her friends. Next year, she plans to attend the University of Tennessee Chattanooga to study pre-dental biology and art.


After a pandemic hiatus, Kendall Grimes is excited to be back on the (virtual) stage for Poetry Out Loud. Kendall is a junior at Battle Ground Academy who is active in Student Council, the Student Diversity Leadership Committee, and several sports. She is an accomplished musician, too, who sings and plays guitar. She is also an all-around good human being, as anyone who knows her could attest.


A tree-climbing, barefoot running, theatre acting junior, Eden Carnes enjoys studying calculus and Civil Rights history at Disco Institute when she isn’t concocting a wild lab experiment in chemistry or composing songs about her pet chicken or the encroaching threat of kudzu.


Vanessa Littlejohn is a 17-year-old junior from Haywood High School. She participates in her school’s volleyball team and is a member of the HHS lead team and FFA. Vanessa is also a member of Zion Baptist Church. She has pursued dancing for six years at Mrs. Cornelia’s dance studio and Pat Brown’s School of Dance.


Noni Mackay is a freshman at Clarksville High. She has many activities outside of school, including making costumes and props to cosplay with. She loves writing stories, songs, and music. Her next big project will be opening an Etsy shop and raising enough money to help her start producing VOCALOID songs!


Melea Weingarten is a sophomore at Cumberland County High School who is involved in a multitude of extra-curricular activities, including Beta Club, French Club, Jet Theatrix Drama Club, and FFA. In her free time, she enjoys reading, singing, hiking, and spending time with family. She also enjoys all the benefits of being an “essential” worker at a local grocery store. She wishes all the best to the other POL state finalists this year and looks forward to a time when everyone can meet in person.


Milla Smith is an active member of The International Thespian Society and performs in all productions that the Spotlight Players produce at Mount Pleasant High School in Mount Pleasant, TN.


Delaney Rae Viner is a born and raised Memphian and attends Harding Academy of Memphis. She is very passionate about eating, getting her homework done before the clock strikes 12, and listening to songs from musicals. Her favorite pastimes include reading all things mythical and magical and family trips, especially to Disney World and Colorado. She loves the connection she feels to the poetry she recites and feels truly blessed to have made it to the State Competition. She is very grateful to all her family, friends, and fellow competitors for supporting, encouraging, and challenging her along the way.