Nine student winners from Great Falls Elementary School at the Poetry Luncheon sponsored by the Great Falls Friends and Neighbors. (Pictured are): Fourth Grade Division -- Peyton Walcott, 1st; Preston Brown, 2nd; and Claire Kim, 3rd. Fifth Grade Division -- Emma Wolff, 1st; Vanessa Jade Duchauffour, 2nd; and Julia Moore, 3rd. Sixth Grade Division -- Ava Reilly, 1st; Lexie Perez, 2nd; and Erin Kalinsky, 3rd.
Photo by Steve Hibbard.
The 2016 Poetry Luncheon honoring the winners of the 34th annual Great Falls Elementary School Poetry Contest was held Thursday, April 14 at River Bend Golf and Country Club in Great Falls. The event was sponsored by the Great Falls Friends and Neighbors Club, a group of 220 women who provide community events and social activities for its members.
Nine student winners in grades 4-6 were honored with cash prizes ($50, $30, and $25 for first, second and third place winners) and an awards luncheon, along with their parents, teachers and school administrators. After a lunch that included a trio of egg salad, chicken and tuna salad, students recited their poetry to the audience. A booklet containing all of their winners' poems for first, second, and third place in grades 4-6 was also printed.
"We're just proud to be able to recognize the young poets, the teachers and welcome the parents to enjoy the fruits of their accomplishments," said Claire Abbott, Poetry Contest chair, on behalf of the Great Falls Friends and Neighbors.
Anne McVey, president of the Great Falls Friends and Neighbors, said there were 210 student entries this year. "The depth of the content was so varied as compared to what came out in years past when many students wrote about the seasons of the year or their family pet," said McVey. "The judges really had to look at each of these poems from the point of content, continuity, and the beautiful creativity before making their decisions."
SARA HARPER, principal of Great Falls Elementary, added: "I think that the partnership between the Friends and Neighbors Club and Great Falls Elementary provides students with the perfect opportunity to publish their exceptional poetry. We appreciate all of the support we've received from the club and are excited to continue the longstanding partnership."
Joanne Schilling, reading specialist at Great Falls Elementary, added: "I think the quality of the work is always outstanding. I don't know how the judges can come down with only one selection."
Fourth-grade teacher Lindsay Compton added: "I think it's great that the students have an opportunity to showcase what they've learned in the classroom and to be recognized for their efforts. I'm very proud of them."
Fourth-grader Peyton Walcott, 9, of Great Falls wrote the poem, "Beach Race," for which he won first place. "I love to run so I was inspired by running on the beach in the Rock and Roll Half Marathon and 5K in Virginia Beach. I was trying to think of how to make other people feel what I felt, so I used basic words to describe that feeling, like 'good' and went to a Thesaurus and found unique and fancy words," he said. After working on it for one to two months, he will have the poem published in East Beach Peninsula Magazine in Virginia Beach where his grandmother lives.
Fourth-grader Claire Kim, 9, of Great Falls, wrote the poem, "Ocean Flowers," for which she won third place. "I wanted to put two things together that don't go together -- those were the ocean and flowers. It took me a day and a half," she said.
Sixth-grader Ava Reilly, 12, of Great Falls, wrote the poem, "Gone," for which she won first place. She said she was inspired by reading the book, “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane,” about death and a rabbit.
Fifth-grader Emma Wolff, 10, of Great Falls, wrote the poem, "Friends," for which she won first place. "I started doing the poem about other things, and then I decided on three of them, then decided on 'Friends.' It took me 30 minutes to write it and then 15 minutes to edit," she said. "It's how (friends) treat me and how I feel about them and how I feel when they're with me."
FIFTH-GRADER Vanessa Duchauffour, 10, of Great Falls, wrote the poem, "Spring Time," for which she won second place. "I just felt that spring was starting and I looked outside and saw flowers," she said. "When I saw bees buzzing around, it inspired me to write the poem." It took her about two or three weeks to write.
Fifth-grader Julia Moore, 10, of Great Falls, wrote the poem, "If I Was the Sun," for which she won third place. "I was on the bus and it was really noisy one day, so I looked out the window and thought, if I was the sun," she said. It took her only five or 10 minutes to write.
Sixth-grader Lexie Perez, 12, of Great Falls, wrote the poem, "Into the Woods," for which she won second place. "It was a dream that I had before. It's kind of walking through the woods; I heard a step behind me and kept running, then I started to fall," she said. It took about a half hour to write.