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Uncovering the mind of a child is like discovering treasure — you just don’t know what you will find. Teachers at Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA) tapped right into that discovery during the school’s first poetry contest and awards ceremony.

Hosted by AZVA’s Reaching Intellectual Success and Excellence (RISE) Program for gifted students, the contest invited all AZVA students in grades K-8 to participate, by submitting either a structured or free form poem in topic areas open to their imagination. Winners were invited to read their poems at an in-person awards ceremony hosted in Phoenix.

Drawing inspirations from various subjects, students delved into subject matters ranging from self-awareness to their favorite pastimes, passions, and holidays.

AZVA teacher Becky Cuperus said she was “overwhelmed” by the creativity of the students.

“One student wrote about her journey to finding herself and who she wants to become. Another wrote about the joy she feels each morning when she wakes to the sun shining, signifying the beginning of a new day, a new chance, a new beginning,” said Cuperus. “These are children, yet they wrote as you would expect from much older individuals.”

Cuperus even recalls one parent thanking her for the opportunity to see how much her child loved poetry. “They never knew that about her,” said Cuperus.

For some students, the poetry contest was an opportunity to step out of their comfort zone, while for others it was a chance to express themselves in ways they had never done before.

A committee of four teachers selected first, second, and third place winners from the different grade levels. An overall “Best of Show” was also chosen for each grade group: K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. With creativity as the focus, judges also determined whether the poems evoked emotion, had a clear defined voice, and explored other technical conventions of poetry.

During the award ceremony, winning poems were read by each student with their peers, parents, and learning coaches in attendance.

Students of winning poems were also happy to find out that their poems would be entered into the Poetic Power National Poetry Contest for the chance to win prizes and become a published author.

“We hope this event will grow next year and other K12-powered schools will initiate and promote a poetry contest in the future,” said AZVA Gifted Program Manager and Title I Coordinator Bouchra Bouanani.

The winners of the competition are listed below:

FIRST PLACE

NAME                                                                                   GRADE

Josiah P. 1st Grade
Mona S. 4th Grade
Mikolas S. 4th Grade
Rosie G. 5th Grade
McKayla B. 6th Grade
Sunshine M. 7th Grade
Elizabeth M. 8th Grade

 

SECOND PLACE

NAME                                                                                   GRADE

Ayah B. 6th Grade
Fyora O. 6th Grade
Carmen C. 8th Grade

 

THIRD PLACE

NAME                                                                                   GRADE

Brianne S. 6th Grade
Lucca S. 6th Grade

 

BEST OF SHOW

NAME                                                                                   GRADE BAND

Josiah P. K-2
Rosie G. 3-5
Elizabeth M. 6-8

 

To learn more about the Arizona Virtual Academy, visit https://azva.k12.com/

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