The Sulphur Springs Union School District celebrated six winners for taking the top spot in their respective grade levels across the district in the Sulphur Springs District Teacher Association Poetry Writing Contest earlier in February.
First grader Oliver Laurino, second grader Felicity Raine Mojica, third grader Lainey Walter, fourth grader Naomi Foster, fifth grader Deegan Dunn and sixth grader Erin Galang each received a certificate and a $50 gift card to Barnes and Noble.
“We had retired teachers use a rubric to go through and decide which ones were the best,” said Amanda Parsons, a teacher at Sulphur Springs Community School, who led the ceremony. “I have to tell you, our retired teachers were getting goose bumps. They were brought to tears by these poems, they were laughing, and they had such a great time.”
“The great poet Robert Frost said, ‘Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words,’” Parsons continued. “And let me tell you, these students have definitely put their emotions to work.”
During the district’s governing board meeting on Feb. 8, these students were introduced to the board and their teachers shared some words about what makes them special.
The students were applauded and rewarded for their creative submissions.
According to Parsons, the teachers’ association typically organizes the poetry event every year, but this was the first one in a few years due to the coronavirus pandemic. Students are encouraged to submit different projects — some wrote, some drew and included words, and there was even a video poem that a student submitted.
Jada Dunn, mother of fifth grader Deegan Dunn, was very proud of her son for his poetry submission. His piece “Basketball” was a video submission with a message about perseverance.
According to Dunn, her son struggles with “learning differences” and it also affects athletics as well. But her son found a new drive after meeting coach Taylor Statham.
“It gives the opportunity to use their voice a little more than in the classroom,” Dunn said, referring to the poetry contest. “These kinds of contests, these types of arts are important because these kiddos get an opportunity to break out their box and express what makes them special, what hurts them and what inspires them.”
SSDTA Poetry Writing Contest District Winners 2022-23:
• First Grade: “Monster Truck Awesome” by Oliver Laurino.
• Second Grade: “I am But a Tree” by Felicity Raine Mojica.
• Third Grade: “The Forest Life” by Lainey Walter.
• Fourth Grade: “My Sweet Little Angel” by Naomi Foster.
• Fifth Grade: “Basketball” by Deegan Dunn.
• Sixth Grade: “Acts of Kindness” by Erin Galang.