top of page

2024 Rising Stars Collection
1st Place Winners

Grade 3-5


by Rishika Akula

Slowly traveling down my car window,
Occasionally adding a smaller droplet to its journey, 
The bigger droplets, that with their own journeys,
avoiding other big droplets
Before drifting into the crevice between the window and the car door.
Life is like that. 
Each person traveling in their own lives
collecting friends and then loved ones. 
Avoiding dangers and slowly traveling to the crevice.
But, what about the waterdrops that were small. 
What were they in life?
But some traveled slower down than the others.
Sitting in the sparkling moonlight, one wonders;
How far down the car window was I?

Copyright © 2024 by Rishika Akula

Grade 6-8


by Mycah Arnold

Things in this life are forever fleeting.
I yearn to remember those joyous laughs
The giggle of two young schoolgirls
Fresh out of the second grade
On top of and alone in the world
Content with their school-yard friends.
I wish to explore the playground sand again,
The pale grains slipping through my small fingers
As I sit and worry about the end of recess
And only the end of recess.
I desire to feel the silky pink ruffles of my old favorite dress
Now, long gone and too small, yet still prevalent in my mind
As if it were still hung in my wardrobe,
Tied with the biggest bow I had ever seen.
Now, here I am, a poet,
An author trying to create a window of time to the past
Weaving together the pieces of time lost, forgotten, buried,
And lapsed with the new.
For one must keep an eye out to the past
When things in this life are forever fleeting 

Copyright © 2024 by Mycah Arnold

Grade 9-12

The Ballad of Apologies

(For My Twin Sister)

by Emily Corradino

Tattered crows, they stand over the grave of trust;
with a sullen flourish, they mount the wind, their voices ruling the ethereal twilight,
the delicate moon briefly imprisoned behind their macabre spread of wings.
In their absence, I find the dismembered remains of the love we once harbored;
scattered, rose petals over the burial, a pillow to the headstone.
Under the flickering of stars, I feel my heart hasten and memories ensnare me.
Soft giggles, kisses on noses, wishes on lashes,
moments to add to my scrapbook of things taken for granted. 
Oh, what a dichotomy we were, you and I, but stitched together in a tapestry.
Woven side by side among contorted limbs of a family tree; we were the apples.
Growing pains of maturity have nurtured me and I emerged pristine. 
But our journeys diverged; I'm sorry I left you to rot. 
I find myself reaching desperately into our past, knowing I've lost you.
Once, I believed nothing in this world would separate us;
now I am left to gather the shreds of our shared history. 
Here is where I find myself, standing over the coffin of our love;
how cynical must I be to have discarded it so effortlessly.
So, please, take me down with you,
enrobe me in ivy and passionflower, and let me sink into the stomach of the Earth,
and embed me in our grave of trust.

Copyright © 2024 by Emily Corradino

Outstanding Participation Award Winner

Power Middle School


"Just For Entering Cash" Winners


Alyssa Tedrow, author of the poem, “Home”

Jordan Pierce Yogev, author of the poem, “Mac”

Anoosha Waheed, author of the poem, “The World of Books”

Cameron Martin, author of the poem, “The Sike of Biking”

Carly Dixon, author of the poem, “Sunday”

Oviya Chittibabu, author of the poem, “Walking Down the Street”

Sarahi Murga, author of the poem, “Placebo”

Caroline Souder, author of the poem, “Fall Days”

Evie McPherson, author of the poem, “The Church of the Sandfiddler”

Aubrey Weber, author of the poem, “Flowers”

Santiago Soto Santana, author of the poem, “The Pixie Forest”

Aspen Ives, author of the poem, “Bear's Eyes”

Elie Zhong, author of the poem, “No. 14”

Ryan Rothert, author of the poem, “Thinking About Wasted Time”

Andrew McBroom, author of the poem, “One, Two, Three, Go!”

Taylar Todd, author of the poem, “Perfection”

Emma Ingram, author of the poem, “Your Words Are Like Swords Through My Heart”

Brody Beasley, author of the poem, “Summer Season”

Coleman Miller, author of the poem, “The Poor Door”

Ava Abbott, author of the poem, “Does Love Exist?”

Oliver Green, author of the poem, “Autumn's Grace”

Isaiah Newby, author of the poem, “Boy Scouts”

Rosebud Summers, author of the poem, “dodged a bullet.”

Kaylyn Talbott, author of the poem, “Lifeline”

Chase Flack, author of the poem, “Thanatophobia”

“Early Bird” Winners

Yvette Reidy, teacher at Lamberton Middle School

Ian Ross, teacher at Renaissance School for Arts and Science

“Teacher’s Bonus” Winner


Lee Akter, teacher at Central High School

2023 Rising Stars Collection
1st Place Winners

Grade 3-5


by Una Sundberg

The bluebird sings in delight as his children emerge from their eggs
while the cherry tree's blossoms sway in the breeze
A young girl with sun-kissed hair
and tanned skin scampers out to tend to the horses
She brushes the dust from their dappled coats until they are silky smooth
Long tails swat at the buzzing flies, soft deep brown eyes
blink shut as a silky breeze swirls the scattered hay
playfully around their knees
Clutching the eggs from the hens while the rooster is hot on her heels,
She rushes up the porch steps and gently lays
the white jewels in the waiting wicker basket,
Then runs off to play in the crisp spring day
and romp in the cool morning dew
Snapdragons, pet
unias, tulips bloom
As the sun's shimmering rays kiss soft petals,
a shower brings down sparkling diamonds of rain
Let the drops of happiness drip onto your tongue and take you away

Copyright © 2023 by Una Sundberg

Grade 6-8


by Saanvi Borra

I take my seat, silently, no one looks up,
All around me, voices, speaking to each other
Laughing and smiling
And me, invisible throughout it all.
I walk through the hallways
The crowd, large and loud
Arms everywhere, pushing and shoving
A boy barrels into me, and I hit the wall
He keeps moving, ignoring me
No eye contact, no words, not even a sorry
It's as if I'm invisible.
I sit at my table, alone
Take my lunch out, chew quietly
Stare wistfully at the filled tables
A creak and a thud sound beside me
Two girls are sitting down
They speak, introducing themselves
I smile, maybe I'm not so invisible after all.

Copyright © 2023 by Saanvi Borra

Grade 9-12

Sugar, Sugar

(What I Hope That Love Is Like)

by Norah Kratz

Buttery biscuits and memories melt in my mouth
Crackling nerve ends behind my forehead,
like cloying, succulent frosting.
Broken fingers, but you hold them gently, like spun sugar
Glazed eyes, like intricate French pastries in stained glass windows
My mouth hangs open, crying, so drip sugar under my tongue
And I may speak of delicacies that melt away your own sticky fingers
Powdered sugar, and powdered smiles, and syrupy, candy-coated sadness
Fix me together with a light glaze, help me to love myself
As children love lollipops and watermelon in the summertime
Puff my cheeks with powdered sugar, please, please
Clean up the burnt bits of Cortex and Cerebellum
Renew my tired recipe and refresh me with pomegranate
And I will show you what love tastes like - warm, homemade apple pie
Glue me back together with honey and caramel and shiny, new emotions
And kiss my eyelids, whispering, "Sweet girl,
My clotted cream angel,
I will love you with
Cinnamon, and Nutmeg
My sugar, my life."

Copyright © 2023 by Norah Kratz

Outstanding Participation Award Winner

Audubon Elementary School


"Just For Entering Cash" Winners


Peyton Cook, author of the poem, “Dusk Til Dawn”

Harley Wilson, author of the poem, “Embracement”

Emma Kratz, author of the poem, “Shattering Confidence”

Marisa Mendoza Gomez, author of the poem, “Before a Night”

Ava McDonald, author of the poem, “Poem.”

Patricia Bujdos, author of the poem, “Today Is Halloween”

James Jeter, author of the poem, “The Reaper”

Aadilea Hunt, author of the poem, “A Thank You Poem”

Colin Kaser, author of the poem, “Autumn”

Jaylee Butler, author of the poem, “Happiness Is ...”

Clara Morine, author of the poem, “Bright Stars”

Hayden Hayes, author of the poem, “Flame Cranes”

Jayleen Doughty, author of the poem, “You're Fine”

Lucas Lin, author of the poem, “Sorrow's Lock”

Cole Koch, author of the poem, “Roses”

Caelyn Unger, author of the poem, “Take Me Back To Summertime”

Malachi Wright, author of the poem, “Reality”

Tobin Pena, author of the poem, “Legos”

Kami Goins, author of the poem, “It's Raining”

Winnie Chan, author of the poem, “Saturday Morning”

Hunter Borden, author of the poem, “Man In Sandy Cave”

John Garrett, author of the poem, “Dear Music”

Clara Neiser, author of the poem, “Gray”

Senna Young, author of the poem, “Dreams”

Connor Vollmer, author of the poem, “Ashes”

“Early Bird” Winners

Caleb Dubofsky, teacher at McCarthy & Stapleton Elementary School

Gretchen Martin, teacher at Richmond Early College High School

“Teacher’s Bonus” Winner


Amy Black, teacher at Madison Junior High School

2023 Winners

2022 Rising Stars Collection
1st Place Winners

Grade 3-5

Snowy Owl

by Eloise Iwasaki

A white ball of feathers
small, maybe speckled,
and as still as a statue
acting as if it's a part of the snow
it shivers, it shakes, it wakes up
it spreads its wings
its long, graceful, white wings
it opens its yellow eyes
that gleam in the sunlight
then it flies off
gliding through cold, crisp air
little bits of snow fall off its back
leaving a frosty trail
But maybe that's just what happens
when you are a snowy owl.

Copyright © 2022 by Eloise Iwasaki

Grade 6-8

Why Couldn't You Love Yourself Like I Loved You

by Lucile Choudhury

Chaos of an unfamiliar face haunt
steamed mirrors
Tangled hair and tired eyes, the reflection of a girl
who doesn't dream
Phony smiles glued in place, rain dripping
down your face onto trembling hands,
fingers crossed when you promise you're okay
You say you have never been beautiful or brave,
with a glass spine and butterfly wings where your
heart should be, dark eyes that can't see things
quite right from behind the clouds
You don't see yourself anymore, with rosy cheeks,
chilled air biting your nose when the sun fades
into a dull gloom, with steady hands and
a quiet heart
You always loved the stars,
and in fact I grew to love them too.
It's funny how they shine brighter
now that you've joined them.

Copyright © 2022 by Lucile Choudhury

Grade 9-12

Petrified Rose

by Nicole Stryczek

In a slender vase
The remnants of romance decompose
The rich hues that painted the petals
Now fading away
With a simple touch
They crumble to the floor
So fragile even with no dance of life
They solemnly sing
But their voices are silenced
By what death brings
To the heart of what used to be

Copyright © 2022 by Nicole Stryczek

Outstanding Participation Award Winner

McCord Junior High School


"Just For Entering Cash" Winners


Chloe Hernandez, author of the poem, "Christmas Cookies"

Alvin Vesey, author of the poem, "What Am I?"

Amelia Brown, author of the poem, "Look In the Mirror"

Roscoe Lewis, author of the poem, "Fall At Night"

Fiorella Pardi, author of the poem, "Fall"

Elsie Lange, author of the poem, "God's Test"

Ethan Lukaszwicz, author of the poem, "Daylight"

Nora Poling, author of the poem, "Tick Tock"

Samanta Flores-Sandoval, author of the poem, "The Deep Sea"

Dylan Dunn, author of the poem, "The Poem To Poseidon"

Nadia Russo, author of the poem, "False Recovery"

Elisabeth Furber, author of the poem, "Train #208"

Katelyn Heisler, author of the poem, "I Miss My Childhood"

Gianna Moran, author of the poem, "Fall"

Emma Troka, author of the poem, "Loving Nature"

Olivia Sierra, author of the poem, "Never Enough"

Genevieve Walker, author of the poem, "All That Echoes"

Brennan Wobbe, author of the poem, "Day At the Lake"

Evelyn Cumpston, author of the poem, "Sweet Tooth"

Kyra Langenstein, author of the poem, "The Spoiled Cat"

Allison Wagner, author of the poem, "Knight"

Kollin Ezernack, author of the poem, "Fall"

Alexander Pitts, author of the poem, "Cyclic Seasons"

Chloe Sutton, author of the poem, "The Rabbit Ride"

Jaleigh Lindsey, author of the poem, "Here, Political Engine"

“Early Bird” Winners

Ibrah Malik, teacher at Qalam Collegiate Academy

Lisa Cotter, teacher at Hinton Community School

Christy Wissman, teacher at St. Pius X School

Jessica Clark, teacher at Namaste Montessori School

Jessica Winward-Volpi, teacher at Blair School

Chris Woodward, teacher at Clarke Middle School

Taylor Kendra, teacher at Eastside High School

America Manzano, teacher at Montessori Academy

Seth Grindstaff, teacher at West Ridge High School

Lois Wollman, teacher at Freeman Public School

“Teacher’s Bonus” Winner


Mary McInerney, teacher at Bridges Academy

2022 Winners

2021 Rising Stars Collection

1st Place Winners

Grade 3-5


by Jacqueline Lai

Unforgiving cold air fiercely twirling and swirling,

decorating windows with stunning patterns of frost.

Loving families cuddle by the cozy fire,

joyfully sharing their precious memories with each other.

Chewy, puffy marshmallows bathing in hot, steamy cocoa,

until they can resist no more but to submerge and melt.

Evergreen trees cheerfully dressed for the season,

in sparkly lights with vibrant, eye-catching colors.

Elegant snowflakes waltzing down ever so gently,

each with a unique rhythm but in great harmony with one another.

Handsome snowmen standing tall with their carrot noses pointing high,

welcoming guests at every house with their heartwarming smile.

Free-spirited children giggling and rejoicing,

as they sled down the fluffy, powdery hill at lightning speed.

Gigantic snowballs launched and shattered,

as the duel continues with the loudest laughter.

Winter, winter

Slowly veils the world with the purest white,

adding mysteriousness in the air,

Winter, forever breathtaking.

Copyright © 2021 by Jacqueline Lai

Grade 6-8


by Ava Chung

In the echoes of every forced laugh is a fist of metal, longing to strike you down.

Beyond each heading is a writer, wrestling with the ugly monster of truth.

Over the bright city skyline, under the park bench.

What lies there, I can guess.

Behind a façade of welcoming warmth,

A grin, from a foe?

The mask hides lies with it.

A shelter to the guilty, a sanctuary to traitors.

A hopeful haven for those who have chosen to hurt.

I can no longer trust the flashy neon sign,

Or the sincere words from a wrinkly neighbor woman.

Even the charming storefront hides secrets far from the counter.

I'll never look the same at an innocent kitten

Needle claws are invisible until they strike.

The TV screen of screaming colors hosts tinted versions of reality.

You can't paint everything pink.

Some things must stay gray.

I'll think twice at the face of a friend

For even the perfectly trimmed hedge

Was grown with chemicals.

Copyright © 2021 by Ava Chung

Grade 9-12

Night, My Love

by Madalynn Hill


the moon is my chaperone,

same glow vanishing, waxing the sky.

The darkened night confines me,

her palm, heavy with devotion,

holds the vow of indiscretion.

The dead of night,

her voice sits in our connection.

She brushes stars against my flesh, gentle

and silent within her nocturnality,

presence of dusk's gloom.

Beneath her, I am merely a speck of light,

gleaming mist under her weight,

engulfed in her sin.

Copyright © 2021 by Madalynn Hill

Outstanding Participation Award Winner

Edison Elementary School


"Just For Entering Cash" Winners


Isabelle Donnelly, author of the poem, “Sonnet”
Hannah Fasse, author of the poem, “June”
Landon Penk, author of the poem, “Christmas”

Eli Giltner, author of the poem, “A Poem's Voice”

Hannah Searcie, author of the poem, “The Unexpected”
Edward Carmody, author of the poem, “Fall”

Imani Cloud, author of the poem, “Society Says”

Ryleigh Rentz, author of the poem, “Earth's Wonders”

Dylan Barris, author of the poem, “Birds”

Rowan Vaught, author of the poem, “Summer Day”

Ashlyn Bourne, author of the poem, “Beautiful Day”

Olivia Shouler, author of the poem, “Common”

Isaias Adame, author of the poem, “We're Looking Forward To Your Email”

Ronin Coffelt, author of the poem, “Monsters”

Madeline Burton, author of the poem, “But, It's Hers”

Robert "Bobby" Frias, Jr., author of the poem, “Loving God”

McKenna LeVan, author of the poem, “The Prisoner”

Mathew Hendrickson, author of the poem, “Mother”

Browning Stewart, author of the poem, “Quarantine”

Aidan Hardesty, author of the poem, “Slide”

Nora Silker, author of the poem, “Dolphin”

Mason Hanson, author of the poem, “Gum”

Gabrielle Wick, author of the poem, “Fall Leaves Too”

Jordan Daligcon, author of the poem, “We, Here, You, Freedom”

Sabrina Kioumji, author of the poem, “Navigate the Sea”

“Early Bird” Winners

Jill Sipma, teacher at Lynden Christian Middle School

Annabel Jones, teacher at Natchitoches Parish School

Dhara Baiden, teacher at Sterling School

Andrew Kibbe, teacher at Manton School

Janelsa Orozco, teacher at Sulphur Springs Middle School

Denise Ogletree, teacher at Glyndale Elementary School

Jennifer Robuck, teacher at St. Thomas More School

Amanda DelReal, teacher at Unadilla Valley Central School

Heather Green, teacher at Gibbs High School

Stephanie Thompson, teacher at Legacy Preparatory Academy

“Teacher’s Bonus” Winner


Kent Armstrong, teacher at Merino Junior Senior High School

2021 Winners

2020 Rising Stars Collection

1st Place Winners

Grade 3-5


by Archer Engels

A soft white blanket of snow
covers the moonlit hills,
frosting on a cake.
Flowers of all colors
poke out from the dunes,
colorful gems.
A hound bays at the moon
as a watchful owl slices
through the sky like a knife.
A wolf as quiet as a mouse
sniffs the cold air,
it stalks its prey.
An elegant stag walks
proudly through the woods.
The trees converse
while snowflakes of all shapes
gracefully float down
from the starry sky.

Copyright © 2020 by Archer Engels

Grade 6-8

The Lie

by Emma Easter

Liberty isn't like it was before.
Independence has become forced.
Justice has migrated
From the side of the people
To the side of the press.
Falsities buzz around like flies to roadkill
Even if you can't see them quite yet.
They may not be clear to the eye,
But ever omniscient, they are always there.
Hovering above,
Floating just out of reach.
Gyrating like vultures over a battlefield
quietly, quietly.
Without a word, they descend,
Swallowing the Earth whole and us along with it.
And yet, we still believe them,
the ones sabotaging our world.
For they offer us what human beings cannot.
The life within a life.
The lie within us all.

Copyright © 2020 by Emma Easter

Grade 9-12

The Internet Age

by Victoria Sparks

No longer the age of innovation
No longer the age of brick and stone
This is the age of my phone screen
being the first welcoming face in the morning and the last laugh I take at night
This is the age of making fake accounts
to pretend you get as many likes as the next girl that shows up on your feed
The age where sitting together means everyone on a different app on a different phone,

so far away from each other it hurts
Let me tell you about this age
You'll know loneliness like the lines on your own hand,
but the tinder matches telling you are likable will keep you sane enough
You'll know insomnia like the road home,
because your mind won't be able to handle not being overstimulated
long enough for you to fall asleep at night
You'll know overthinking as if you invented it because screenshots and texts
and Instagram DM's mean that every word you send can last forever
No longer the age of the American dream
No longer the age of the cavemen
Just a dark room, the only light a dinging cellphone, and you alone hoping 
it's not another streak snap

because God knows it's been awhile since you've talked to anyone

Copyright © 2020 by Victoria Sparks

Outstanding Participation Award Winner



McCord Junior High School


"Just For Entering Cash" Winners


Mady Eddy, author of the poem, “Green”
Joshua Beuskens, author of the poem, “God Is ...”
Kyaijah Abdulahad, author of the poem, “Destiny”
Jax Harrison, author of the poem, “Rock Climbing”

Lucas Saraceni, author of the poem, “Swimming”
Keely Hoey, author of the poem, “My Light”
Brooke Baldwin, author of the poem, “What Books Can Do”
Tate Johannes, author of the poem, “The Great Nation”
Casey McKenna, author of the poem, “Bird Is Another Word For Girl”

Troy Martinez, author of the poem, “Spooky Days”
Mary Walthers, author of the poem, “Super Us”
Hudson Leonard, author of the poem, “Good Riddance, Old Friend”
Diamond Peters, author of the poem, “I Am, You Are”
Darren R. Prince-Wright, author of the poem, “Beautiful Fall”

Ethan Atwood, author of the poem, “Dread In the Purest Form”
Sarah Walicord, author of the poem, “Rattle the Stars”
Matthew Soifer, author of the poem, “Regret For Wildfires”
Melanie Langston, author of the poem, “Prodded and Poked”
Collin Alley, author of the poem, “Oklahoma”

Luc Pillsbury, author of the poem, “The Darkness Is A Fright”
Zeenya Chandio, author of the poem, “The Teddy Bear”
Amelia Winters, author of the poem, “Graduation”
Landon Murdock, author of the poem, “I’ll Miss You Buddy …”

CJ Ellinger, author of the poem, “Keep Going”

Sebasi Oni, author of the poem, “Halloween”


“Teacher’s Bonus” Winners


Sherry Chroniger, teacher at St. Teresa of Calcutta

Partick Tanner, teacher at Christa McAuliffe Middle School

Morgan Menefee Crabtree, teacher at Osawatomie High School

2020 Winners

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

2019 Winners

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

2017-2018 Winners
bottom of page