Closer Look

Poetry contest spotlights National Day of Writing

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Sara Young

April Anderson, teacher of a Macon Middle School (MMS) English class, hosted a poetry contest this fall for 8th and 7th grade students. The opportunity occurred during a focus on National Day of Writing.

Students were asked to write a poem based on the subject of thankfulness. A panel of 10 judges from a variety of teaching disciplines and administrative roles reviewed the poems based on a number of different criteria – one of which was whether the poem told a story the reader can identify with or that encourages an emotional response. The judges chose three winners. Those three winning poems were read aloud on a Panther Cast, which is an in-house short Facebook newscast for MMS.

Anderson has been teaching at MMS for 22 years 7th and 8th grade language arts. She expressed benefits and challenges of hosting a writing contest: “The challenge would be getting students to participate and the benefits are they see what they are doing and learn how writing matters to the teacher and across the curriculum. Poetry is a way that a lot of students can express themselves.”

Anderson explained that a level of creativity was evident from all grades; however, skill was different based on the grade level. “There are a lot of students that have skill with poetry, but not the confidence level,” she said, adding, “There were about seven students that entered the poetry contest, but we hope to have more [entries] next year.”

THIS PAST fall, Macon Middle School English teacher April Anderson hosted a poetry contest focused on the topic of thankfulness. Pictured are the winners, Karma Franks – second; Parker Payne – third, Tucker McHan – first, and MMS Principal Mark Sutton.

The first-place winner was Tucker McHan, who received a $30 gift card. The second and third place winners, Karma Franks and Parker Payne, received a $15 gift card each.

McHan shared that he learned through the writing process “… how special life is and how lucky people are to have it.” The second and third place winners also voiced feelings about what they learned through the writing process. “I learned to go with the flow of your life and not mistreat others,” said Payne. Parker offered that it boosted his confidence.

McHan’s poem, titled “Life,” embodies thankfulness for the life you have and to live it to the fullest. He started the poem, “I am thankful for life. The chances of being born are slim to none, yet here I am.” He ended the poem focusing on how people should just live. “There’s no right or wrong way to live it. Be grateful, Be thankful. Whatever you do, just Live.”

Sara Young is a high honors student at Macon Early College.