From left, Great Falls Elementary students Rachel Vanderven, Maddie Cross, Sabrina Barker, Nicole Medina, Hannah Femia, Laura Gersony, Olivia Garner, Nicholas Trunnell and Sonia Toloczko, winners of the annual Great Falls Friends and Neighbors Poetry Contest.
Photo by Alex McVeigh.
Great Falls The Great Falls Friends and Neighbors Club held their 30th annual poetry contest, awarding nine Great Falls Elementary School students during a luncheon at Riverbend Country Club.
“I can’t believe it’s been 30 years that this club has been showcasing our students,” said Ernest Leighty, principal of Great Falls Elementary. “It’s always been a great opportunity to show their work, and it’s been a highlight of my career to see these students participate.”
The club recently underwent a transformation, as the Great Falls Women’s Club and the Great Falls Newcomer’s Club merged to become the Great Falls Friends and Neighbors.
“This contest has a great impact, not only instructionally, but also creatively,” said contest coordinator Joanne Schilling. “They have great fun writing their poems and sharing them with classmates. They even had a mini crisis when the school’s server went down few days before the contest deadline, but it all got figured out.”
The nine students, three each from fourth, fifth and sixth grades were recognized for a variety of works. Some wrote in standard rhyme, others in more of a freestyle format.
Sixth grader Nicole Medina wrote a poem about how she would feel if her father died, and and fourth grader Nicholas Trunnell wrote about his grandmother who has passed away.
“I really miss my father, when he died it felt like a big hole was blown into my heart, I had almost lost all hope,” Medina wrote. “But then I remembered something he once told me, ‘Family is forever, as long as you have them in your heart they are never really gone, you just can’t see them.’”
Club member Allison Grandstedt said she hoped the students would nurture their creative side as they grow older.
“My son just got into the honors programs and honors dormitory for the Virginia Tech engineering program, and he got in because he wrote a poem with his application,” she said. “So you never know where it will take you.”