2019 Rising Stars Collection

1st Place Winners

Grade 3-5

To Make America Grand by Emma Levi

There are things that make me so sad,
And things I don't understand
How people can just turn their back,
On a country I thought was so Grand.
A country once founded on God,
Is being ripped apart by its seams.
While people walk on one another,
They're destroying Americans' dreams.
A country that's Lost all respect,
While violence is filling our Land.
Instead of fighting against one another,
Let's join hands together and stand.
We are one nation under God,
So let's join together as one.
It doesn't matter the race or the color,
Together we will become strong.
Instead of finding fault,
Let's help our fellow man
For without the struggles there would be no progress
To make America Grand!

Copyright © 2019 by Emma Levi

Grade 6-8

Golden Child by Jessica Tomasic

The stress, the pressure we have endured
To maintain this poisonous being.
Discipline is panic and stress,
That means we're doing things right.
The ripe age where we reached out
Into the farthest corners of life
Was suffocated by the grip of expectations.
We kneeled to the anxiety it created.
Our banner of unworthiness
Was waiting to unfurl above our heads.
The banner will bring the end
Of all we have ever lived for.
Happiness becomes a distant memory.
Love and laughter became picayune.
As the child inside us faded
Into a small sliver of light.
All the world's a stage,
We play it for the golden A.
Displayed on a piece of paper,

Copyright © 2019 by Jessica Tomasic

Grade 9-12

The Eve of Existence: Touching Eternity by Madeleine Denison

Confronting one's mortality requires remembrance of one's beginning
A humble start, for certain,
woven with sweet promises and passionate declaration
The moment a woman fulfills her body's premise
That story written along the inner curve of her hips, the bulge of her bosom
As she heaves breath and heals death
Arms pushing haphazard beneath her waist, hospital gown in tears
She cries openly, vulnerably, piercing the veil of pride or ambiguity-
It is fiercely, terribly human as the shrieks hail an entrance of a body unknown
And the room is on fire,
bursts of motion oscillating between the helpers and the star
Every line on her face wrinkled to allow the brilliant quantity of pain
It's everywhere - in her arched back, her gnarled fingers,
her curled toes, her raw throat
For every piece of a woman is broken for the entrance of something whole
And presented to her with tender awe,
wonder intact in the woman's eyes for the first moment since her own dawn

Copyright © 2019 by Madeleine Denison

Outstanding Participation Award Winner


St. Benedict School


"Just For Entering Cash" Winners


Ellie Hamilton, author of the poem, “The Girl With the Raven Hair”
Julian Kemp, author of the poem, “Life Is Like a Seed”
Raelee Downs, author of the poem, “I'm Not That Girl”
Benedict Gromov, author of the poem, “Ken and Ben”

Vanessa Heltzel, author of the poem, “What Is My Purpose?”
Shane Warminski, author of the poem, “Winter”
Grace Crowell, author of the poem, “Masterpiece”
Cory Poe, author of the poem, “Food”
Marley Wingfield, author of the poem, “Charcoal”

Travis Belcher, author of the poem, “I Am”
Brooklee Crockom, author of the poem, “Happy Mother's Day”
Dakota Cleveland, author of the poem, “Final Goodbyes”
Amy Uher, author of the poem, “Ballad of Amy Uher”
E.J. Smith, author of the poem, “Otis the Cat”

Trinity Ball, author of the poem, “Tedium”
Aedan Quan, author of the poem, “Ode To the Gift Shop”
Abigail Chamberlain, author of the poem, “Don't Spy On Santa”
Joe Bicket, author of the poem, “The Red Bird”
Ava Hannah, author of the poem, “The Flower”

Kenton Le, author of the poem, “Liability”
Maya Herrerias , author of the poem, “Who's There”
Wolfe Beckley, author of the poem, “Catherine of Aragon”
Bailey Johnson, author of the poem, “Teachers”

Veronica Fegley, author of the poem, “Walking Promise”

Sian Helfrich, author of the poem, “Torn, Crumpled, and Absolutely Determined”


“Teacher’s Bonus” Winners


Samantha Payne, teacher at St. John Bosco Academy

Chris Mikulskis, teacher at Evergreen Park Community High School

Annette Coats, teacher at Sunnyvale Elementary School

2017-2018 Rising Stars Collection

1st Place Winners

Grade 3-5

The Language of Hope by Eliana Kessler

Silence is like a night without stars.
Children gaze out their windows and have hopes,
Hopes that tomorrow the sky will burst with light like a firework.
Hope is the language that we all speak,
A language without borders.
We speak Hope with love and kindness.
Hope is the language of fiery sunsets,
Of sea blue oceans.
Our words are defense against and towards others,
Both friends and enemies.
Our words can bind us together like a chain of love
Through the power of Hope.
Without our words, we fall, speaking the language of silence.
As apathy spreads over the universe, we are powerless,
A sea without waves.
Our words, like the tide,
Pull us together.

Copyright © 2017 by Eliana Kessler

Grade 6-8

Introverted Strength by Adeline Foss

Go put some lipstick on that broken smile of yours.

Smear your face with society's excuse for beauty.

Cover up the dark circles under your eyes, provoked by

The countless nights you've lain awake comparing yourself

To what society tells us is beautiful.

What will happen when an entire society quits loving themselves?

Erase your frown, and put on a smile.

Erase your tear-streaked face,

And put on a makeup coated veil.

Erase your weary eyes,

And replace them with a carefree disguise.

Stare at all of the insecurities you try to ignore,

With an inexplicable disgust.

Because by reason of society, loving yourself

Is the hardest thing you'll ever do.

But just like flowers in sidewalk cracks,

Strength grows in places

You'd least expect it to.

Copyright © 2017 by Adeline Foss

Grade 9-12

Here's My Old Man by Arena Navarro

His nails are caked in grime,

the years of work broke his leather boots in long ago,

The glint of his eyes, once there, now dulled by the sober humdrum

of work and life

His strides sodden with slowness,

a smile not as nimble as it used to be,

the dark aroma of smoke, sunken deep into his umber skin,

singed hairs on the back of his head from the work that followed him home

Breaths are stale bread mixed with the black coffee he has for breakfast

every morning, Every day

comes home to the memory of a woman who loved him,

the children that knew him

The realization of having lost everything right under his nose,

when he was only trying to give us the best


Why does the world make up these lies,

meanwhile people get by,

when the man that I knew,

I sadly outgrew

Copyright © 2017 by Arena Navarro

Outstanding Participation Award Winner


IDEA College Preparatory McAllen


"Just For Entering Cash" Winners


Alessia Higueros, author of the poem, “Boogie Boarding”
Isaiah Steffen, author of the poem, “Patriotic Purposes”
Hunter Stephenson, author of the poem, “Clouds”
Olivia Myers, author of the poem, “For Once”
Jordana Bleich, author of the poem, “Sweet Stuff”

Dylan Wilson, author of the poem, “Music”
Maggie Jewell, author of the poem, “Peaceful Place”
Liam Zdravecky, author of the poem, “Nazgûl's Delight”
Maddy Maline, author of the poem, “My Love”
Adrian Lopez, author of the poem, “Poison of People”

Stsa McDonald, author of the poem, “Alone”
Sarah Bolton, author of the poem, “Fall Colors”
Tyler Burns, author of the poem, “Dribble, Dribble, Shoot”
Taylor Pyfer, author of the poem, “Winter”
Jaden Matthews, author of the poem, “Friends”

Colby Macapagal, author of the poem, “Sauce”
Erica Womble, author of the poem, “Differences”
Anna Burns, author of the poem, “Flotsam and Jetsam”
Luke Bohatch, author of the poem, “Dogs”
Owen Mendenhall, author of the poem, “Changing Seasons”

Danica Morris, author of the poem, “Back To the E.R. Once Again”
Addison Engquist, author of the poem, “Fish”
Vincent Gennello, author of the poem, “Attribution”
Rahael Kassaye, author of the poem, “So Much Depends Upon”
Hunter Sade, author of the poem, “Since That Day”


“Teacher’s Bonus” Winners


Erin Russell, teacher at Frontier Middle School

Tiffany Pafford, teacher at Lake Park Elementary School

Matthew Binder, teacher at Florida Futures Academy


Mailing Address: PO Box 582, Tarpon Springs, FL 34688
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