Poetry awards draw students from across the county

| 22 Feb 2012 | 08:24

“When you look at the earth What do you see? Creation and proof of God’s majesty Flowers are budding Each day is new But the planet’s in danger So what should we do?” These were the opening lines of the first prize-winning poem “The Victory Can Be Won” by Alyssa Bostock, a seventh grader from Northwest Christian School. She recited her poem at the 21st annual Sussex County Poetry Award ceremony sponsored by Sparta Public Library on April 21. With the goal of encouraging children in the joys, expressiveness, and pure delight of poetry, the Sparta Public Library established this annual award twenty-one years ago. Registration is sent to the schools in January. The awards are presented in April, which is the National Poetry Month. The contest is open to sixth, seventh and eighth grade students from public and private schools in Sussex County. This year 958 submissions from 22 schools were received. A panel of three judges, Wendy Gilson, Janet Cutshal and Deborah Guarino, author of the renowned children’s book “Is You Mama A Lama,” selected these poems. The first place for eighth grade went to Alexandra Straulina (Kitttatinny Regional High School). Her poem “The Drought” conjured up images of parched, cracked and dry fields of July. Second place for this grade went to Elizabeth Cueva (Sparta Middle School). Her poem “Summer Air” ended with patter of the rain ending the summer dryness. Third place went to “A Hundred Miles Later” by Michael Bussow (Kittatinny Regional High School). Seventh grade winner for second place “And Still Fit” by Sophie Salinardo (Sparta Middle School) dared to take on the subject of young girls’ obsession to be size “0.” Third place went to Jonathan Stout’s “The Silent Predator (Byram Intermediate School). First place winning poem for sixth grade was “My Escape” by Marianna Sternefeld (Saint Joseph Regional School) It was an exuberant word play about the dream land of fairies one can escape to while reading a book. Second and third places went to “Koi Fish Pond” by Megan Robinson (Green Hills School) and “I Am” by J T Krip (Hopatcong Middle School). Ten honorable mention awards were also presented. For eighth grade: “A Perfect Day” Carson O’ Neill (Kittatinny Regional High School) “The Cheerleading Competition” Sierra Gratale (Sussex Middle School) “IPod” Hunter Barnes (Lafayette Township Elementary School) “Young” Brianna Byrd (Kittatinny Regional High School) For seventh grade: “”Like Them” Kaylee Bruggemann (Hopatcong Middle School) “Summer” Hannah Bertoline (Reverend Brown School) “Fast Foods” Evan Barnett (Saint Joseph Regional High School) And for sixth grade “If I Were...” Katie Parrish (Byram Intermediate Schoool) “In The Band Room” Abby Way (Sussex Middle School) “Quiet Morning” Joseph Feeley (Hopatcong Middle School)