The Lodi Unified School District held its sixth annual Superintendent’s Poetry Contest and had 1,400 poems submitted from grades ranging in first- through 12th.
The winners received a certificate, a “surprise prize bag” and the original poem returned to them. The first place winners in each category are invited to read their poems aloud to at the next regularly scheduled district board meeting on May 3 at 7:00 p.m. at the Julia Morgan Elementary School, 3777 Spanos Blvd, Stockton.
For the ninth- through 12th-grade category, poems were judged by Bob Stanley, a professor of English at California State University, Sacramento. Stanley is also a professional poet, a former Poet Laureate of Sacramento, and the President of the Sacramento Poet Center.
For the sixth- through eighth-grade category:
- First place: Kaia Rivera from Christa McAuliffe Middle School for “Who I am”
- Second place: Michael Castro from Lodi Middle School for “Nature of Nurture”
- Third place: Jenesia A. Rosales at Reese Elementary School for “Chapter 7: Where the Red Fern Grows”
For the ninth- through 12th-grade category:
- First place: Destiny Simmons from Bear Creek High School for “Clear Mind”
- Second place: Alyssa Witbeck from Tokay High for “My Trip to Time’s House”
- Third place: Clarissa Lule from Tokay High for “Sprouts”
For the third- through fifth-grade category, Ava Clark from Erma Reese Elementary and Annabelle Sikich from the first- through third-grade category have been invited to read their poems at upcoming board meeting.
In a statement, Stanley said the judging was a difficult job for me this year, with many well-written poems and featuring a wide range of topics and approaches.
He encourages all up-and-coming writers to keep up the good work.
“Hopefully, writing becomes something you do because you have something you want to say,” he said. “Real writers write, not because a teacher assigns writing, and not because we want to make money, but because we want to communicate to others. I believe these poems, as well as the other pieces that were entered in the contest, have communicated important sentiments and ideas.”
All prizes for the winners were paid directly out of pocket by Lodi Unified superintendent Dr. Cathy Nichols-Washer.