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Music Leads to Poetry

Mount Vernon fifth grader is named student poet laureate.

Fifth grader Taylor Dohmen's love of playing the trumpet has led him to poetry. While Taylor has played trumpet for less than two years, his playing inspired him to write a poem named the best Alexandria elementary student poem.

"He's just an excellent writer," said Linda Thurston, one of Taylor's teachers at Mount Vernon Community School, about Taylor. "He's always loved poetry."

Taylor wrote his poem "Music" for Thurston's class. Thurston had everyone in her talented and gifted student class write a poem to submit to the school's annual poetry contest. Students in grades three through five in all 13 of the city's elementary schools participated. While the students who submitted the best poem from each school were given awards, Taylor was named elementary poet laureate for the entire school system.

While Taylor mainly writes poetry for school, occasionally he writes poetry for himself, he said. What he will do in the afternoon depends on how he feels, he said. "If I've been at school and had a long day, I probably prefer to play my trumpet. If not, I prefer to write poetry."

Taylor said he likes to read "humorous" poetry.

When Taylor was told he had won the contest he initially thought he had just won it for the school. When he realized he had won it for the entire school system it was "really exciting," he said.

Thurston "really worked with me making (the poem) the best it could be," Taylor said.

TAYLOR IS IN THE FIRST CLASS at Mount Vernon Community School to have been in an English-Spanish dual language program from kindergarten. His experience learning a foreign language is reflected in his winning poem's seventh stanza: "As I play my trumpet/I realize that I am reading a foreign language/Of notes and scales/But I'm fluent in it/And my fingers move by themselves."

The dual language program has "expanded his mind more," said Sonia Childs, one of Taylor's teachers.

"When you look at the poem you really see Taylor," Thurston said. "You see his passion for poetry."

Taylor plans to continue his passion when he goes to George Washington Middle School next year, he said. In the coming years he hopes to submit some of his poems for publication.