Awesome! -- that's the only way to describe how Naperville teens responded to the Library's Second Annual Teen Poetry Contest. They submitted 180 original poems to the Naperville Public Library’s Second Annual Teen Poetry Contest. It's amazing how much creative talent there is in town. Don't just take my word for it, the 3 contest judges thought the poems were pretty awesome, too. High school judge and college professor Luis Alberto Urrea said, “I have to say that the winners were so good I didn't even want to believe they were high school kids!” College professor John Stanley who judged the 7th and 8th grade division noted, “These students display much talent not only in their writing, but also in their understanding of poetry.”
There were 9 place and 16 honorable mention winners in the contest's 3 divisions: 6th grade, 7th and 8th grade, and high school.
In the 6th grade division, the winners are: 1st place - “The Farm” by Bruce Vandevender, Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School; 2st place - “Waves” by Quentin Parmenter, Bethany Lutheran School; and 3st place - “Persephone” by Mary Fosco, St. Raphael Catholic School. Honorable Mentions are: “The Mile” by Ryan Ruocco, Washington Jr High School; “Sharks” by Claire Potter, Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School; “Help” by Mary Cate Mihalik, Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School; “Books” by Sydney Relihan , Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School; “Swinging for the Fences” by Jack Lapean, Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School; “If” by Alex Cooper , Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School; “Unique” by Aimee Guay, Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School, and “The Windy City” by Nolan O’Rear, Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School.
In the 7th and 8th grade division, the winners are: 1st place - “How?!” by Michael Stern, Madison Jr. High School, 7th grade; 2nd place - “Music” by Sarah Balla, Bethany Lutheran School, 8th grade; and 3rd place - “Predator” by Shehla Chowdhury, Hill Middle School, 8th grade. Honorable mentions are:
“The Drumstick” by Mikey Williams, Madison Jr. High School, 7th grade; “Wings” by Jadah Keith, Kennedy Jr. High School, 7th grade; “Rebel” by Julia Ibsen, St. Francis Xavier Parish Middle School, 8th grade; “Invisible” by Caitlin Ward, Bethany Lutheran School, 8th grade; “Pirates Dream Too” by Alexandra Sapiega, Lincoln Jr. High School, 7th grade, and “There’s a Zombie on Your Lawn” by John Hattas, Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School, 8th grade,.
In the high school division, the winners are: 1st place – “The Old Woman Who Goes to My Church” by Meghedi Tamazian, Neuqua Valley High School, 9th grade; 2nd place - “I Miss You: Words from the Past, Present and Future” by Ray Hilger, St. Francis High School, 12th grade; and 3rd place - “The Sky May Be Gray” by Evangeline Reid, Benet Academy, 11th grade. Honorable Mentions are: “The Unspoken Truth” by Christine Ramirez, Neuqua Valley High School, 9th grade, and “My Art Teacher” by Hannah Zeeb, Naperville Central High School, 12th grade.
Contest judges are: Jennifer Jackson, 6th grade division, Associate Professor of English; Chairperson of English, North Central College; John Stanley, 7th and 8th grade division, Assistant Professor of Speech Communication, Assistant Director of Forensics and Director of Individual Events, North Central College; and Luis Alberto Urrea, high school division, 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction, member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, and Professor of Creative Writing, University of Illinois at Chicago.