The Marie Curie Institute of Communications and Engineering has been awarded a Poetic Achievement Award for its participation in a student writing contest sponsored by Utah-based Creative Communication Inc.
The school received the award after 34 of its students were selected to be published in a poetry anthology called “A Celebration of Young Poets.”
In a letter written to the school, Creative Communication’s editor Thomas Worthen said less than 50 percent of the submissions are chosen to be published in the anthology and only 10 percent of the schools that entered were awarded the Poetic Achievement Award.
“This is so great because we just did this to have the kids communicate creatively; we never thought that all these students would be selected,” teacher Shannon Loveland said.
Loveland introduced the poetry contest to second-grade teacher Jerilynn Einarsson, third-grade teacher Linda Sawicki and special education teacher Theresa Featherstone, who all thought poetry writing would be a way to allow the students to express themselves, reinforce concepts the students learned in reading class and build their confidence.
The Marie Curie school receives a grant through No Child Left Behind, which allows them money for professional development and materials to help the school’s students improve their reading skills.
Loveland said the school has done a good job focusing on reading, so this program has allowed the students to focus on writing. It also goes along with the theme of the magnet school, which is communications and engineering. The students are routinely learning to solve problems, but they also need to learn to communicate their ideas and findings.
Loveland said the poetry unit has increased a lot of students’ confidence because while more advanced students were selected, some of the students who might have been struggling with reading or writing excelled and had their poems selected as well.
All five students who participated in the poetry contest from Featherstone’s class were selected. Featherstone said most of her students struggle with writing and reading and some of them don’t speak English as their first language.
“When I told them we were going to write poetry, they were scared; they thought it was going to be too hard,” she said.
Students like Marshland Santiago, 10, a fifth-grader, wrote about a fall day, kissing girls and missing Puerto Rico.
For Sawicki, participation in the poetry contest allowed her third-graders to write cinquain poems, which have a specific style. The students needed to have a clear understanding of nouns, adjectives, inflection endings and synonyms.
Of 22 students in Sawicki’s class, 13 of them were selected, including 9-year-old Hope Adair, who said she likes writing and she might want to be an author someday.
Paloma Malave-Reyes was also selected, and she said she likes writing poetry, but someday, she wants to be a baker.
The second-grade students in Einarsson’s class similarly loved the poetry class, she said. Of 25 students in her class, 16 of them were selected.
“They are very proud,” she said.
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