I’m happy to announce that we have a student poet posted for the Word of the Month Poetry Challenge. Please go to Young Poet W.O.M. Poems to meet Justin Farlee, a 3rd grade student at Cheyenne-Eagle Butte Upper Elementary School in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, and enjoy his poem. His home school teacher, Joan Upell, posted Justin’s poem and I’m grateful to her. Although we have a grand old tradition of introducing young poets on this site, Justin is the first to appear here in a long time. I believe that last student poets were posted by Ken Slesarik, our friend in Phoenix, Arizona. Joan has also posted previous student poems from her 8th grade ELA students.
I’m reminded of two girls who posted their poems eleven years ago in April, 2009, Rachel Ryan Heinrichs and Taylor McGowan. They are young women now and I still hear from them when they can snatch a few minutes from their busy lives. Taylor’s last note, a few months ago, relates how excited she is to be a student at Emerson College, where she won a $20,000 merit scholarship. She told me, “I will never, ever forget it (the first poem she posted here) —or the other poems I wrote for your W.O.M contests. I may not recall the precise words of the poems themselves, but I will always remember the process: the thrill of putting pen to paper, then fingers to keyboard; the excitement of posting; the joy of seeing people’s reactions to my work.” Taylor is majoring in Writing, Literature, and Publishing and hopes to become an editor of YA books.
I’ve been hoping to see some student poems posted now that we have millions of children working from home these days and teachers everywhere working hard to keep them involved and learning. Let’s hope that Joan Upell’s example will encourage others to follow by sharing poems by their kids for us all to enjoy and offer our encouragement. You never know when a few words of support will help change a young life.