Home News Local News Poetry contest winners earn accolades
Poetry contest winners earn accolades
Robert Frost once said, “I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.”
A total of 180 local children and teenagers recently took the voyages of discovery of which Frost wrote.
The youths did so while composing poems they entered in this year’s annual La Grande K-12 Poetry Contest.
This year’s 180 entrants was the highest total in the contest’s history, said Kathy O’Neal of La Grande, the contest’s director the past nine years.
The total pleased O’Neal, who said that writing poetry does much for children and teenagers.
“It gives them an outlet for expressing themselves,” O’Neal said. “When they write poetry they have a voice. So many times they can’t articulate what they are feeling, especially when it is something big, but when they start writing poetry it pours out of them.”
O’Neal said that if “we as teachers and parents” encouraged students to continue writing poetry, many adults would have a better understanding of what is going on within the minds of youth.
“We would know about their internal conflicts, how much they are suffering and what we can do to encourage them,” O’Neal said.
She also said people would learn how creative they are and see how they visualize things in their minds.
The annual contest, which has been conducted at least 10 years, is open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade in La Grande and Island City.
The division winners of this year’s contest are Amein Jones of Grande Ronde Academy, who placed first in the kindergarten through third-grade division; Kaiden Taylor of Greenwood Elementary School, the winner of the fourth-grade division; Rhett VanLaarhoven of Grande Ronde Academy, the fifth-sixth-grade division champion; Erin Campbell of Grande Ronde Academy, the grade seven-eight division winner; and Marie Dalton of La Grande High School, the grade nine through 12 division winner.
Greenwood fourth-grader Kaiden Taylor not only won his division but also received the Purple Feather Award. This award is given to the writer of the poem judged to be the most exceptional in his or her grade-level category.
O’Neal said the contest is made possible by the support of the La Grande School District and Grande Ronde Academy, the individual teachers who encourage students to write poems and the secretaries of each school who give of their time each year to collect poems for the contest.
The sponsors of this year’s contest included Dairy Queen, Dominos Pizza, Mamacitas, New York Richie’s, Pizza Hut, Primo’s, Starbucks, the Sub Shop, Taco Time, Granada Theater and Veterans Memorial Pool. Their sponsorship made it possible for prizes to be awarded to placers, O’Neal said. Some sponsors provided up to 15 prizes.
Following are the top three placers in the competition’s five divisions and the poems that placed first in each category.
K-3rd Grade: Amein Jones, Grande Ronde Academy, first place; Sophie Bell, Central Elementary School, second place; Kolton Wood, Central Elementary School, third place.
Fourth Grade: Kaiden Taylor, Greenwood Elementary School, first place and Purple Feather Award; Jayce Seavert, Island City Elementary School, second place; Samantha Savage, Greenwood Elementary School, third place.
Fifth-Sixth Grade: Rhett VanLaarhoven, Grande Ronde Academy, first place; Miller Thurman, La Grande Middle School, second place; Cade Reed, Grande Ronde Academy, third place.
Seventh-Eighth Grade: Erin Campbell, Grande Ronde Academy, first place; Zayne Kirkham, Grande Ronde Academy, second place; Darin Rueppel, La Grande Middle School, third place.
Ninth-12th Grade: Marie Dalton, La Grande High School, first place; Laura Patterson, La Grande High School, second place; Donovan Durfee, La Grande High School, third place.
My Grandpa, My Friend by Marie Dalton, 12th Grade
The sky is clear,
The ocean is blue
I’m standing on the beach
Waiting for you
My feet in the sands
Water touching my toes
When I’ll get to see you
God only knows
You left when I was young
Too young to understand
That you were so sick
You could barely hold my hand
So I have to go on
And live my life
Not a day goes by that I don’t miss you
Sometimes I still cry
I know you’re always with me
And I’ll try to make you proud
But I’m always going to miss you
this I avowed
So I live and I wait
To see you again
To play cards and to laugh
My grandpa, my friend
Books by Erin Campbell, Seventh Grade
Pirates with hooks
Fairies that shine
yes books of mine
Dragons that fly
The bad guys die
Spines on the shelf
A small short elf
Time flies by
High in the sky
Demons quite tall
Insects so small
Tattered old scrolls
Vaulting from poles
A snake’s evil hiss
A magical kiss
Paper with words
Flying with birds
My wings spread wide
I’m here for the ride
The Soccer Ball by Rhett VanLaarhoven, Sixth Grade
Kicked into the air
Although I have no hair
I will be soaring to the goal, but then... a sudden stop!
I will then be thrown down,
Rolling to angry feet,
Get kicked to another goal,
“He shoots, he scores!”
I am now carried to the center of the field,
All of a sudden, I’m blasted to the air.
And “Yes!” the crowd screams,
And again I helped,
I am the soccer ball.
Alone by Kaiden Taylor, Fourth Grade
Alone is a computer with no mouse
Alone is a multimillionaire with no money
Alone is a car with no gasoline
Alone is a school with no laughter
Alone is a cloud with no rain
Alone is a pen with no ink
Alone is a fish with no gills
Alone is a cat with no reflexes
Alone is a Kung with no Fu
Alone is a lake with no water
Alone is a train with no track
Alone is a teacher with no students
Alone is a printer with no paper
Alone is a home with no love
Alone is Me with no
The Wild Little Horse by Amein Jones, Third Grade
The wild little horse so brave and bold,
Lived on a farm with a little sheep fold.
He wandered around to and fro,
And came to a river with a beautiful flow.
Hello little river, little horse said with glee,
I look into the river and see a pony just like me!
He ran home to his mom and dad,
And told them of the fun he had.