Berry Middle School recognizes poetry contest winners

Second place winner Camille Chase, second place winner Corrie Parks and poetry contest winner Tegan Gibbons stand behind their awards in the Berry Middle School Library on April 20. (Reporter Photo/Molly Davidson)

Second place winner Camille Chase, second place winner Corrie Parks and poetry contest winner Tegan Gibbons stand behind their awards in the Berry Middle School Library on April 20. (Reporter Photo/Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

HOOVER—In honor of National Poetry Month, Berry Middle School held its first poetry contest this April. The contest received around 100 submissions from sixth through eighth grade students.

Students were allowed to exercise creativity in their poetry, choosing their own styles and topics.

“We’re always promoting reading, but we know writing goes hand-in-hand with reading,” Berry reading coach Dianna Minor said. “I wanted something different, because we have so many creative kids, but we don’t have a creative writing class.”

Ten honorable mentions selected in the Berry Middle School poetry contest. (Reporter Photo/Molly Davidson)

Ten honorable mentions selected in the Berry Middle School poetry contest. (Reporter Photo/Molly Davidson)

Poems covered range of topics, from sports, to faith, to fantasy stories, and Minor said she was impressed by the poetic devices and imagery students employed in their pieces.

“This shows me how strong our readers are,” Minor said.

Teachers and reading coaches evaluated each poem and provided students with constructive feedback. Ten poems were selected as honorable mentions, and four were selected as winners.

Eighth grader Tegan Gibbons took first place for her poem “Pearl Harbor: Harbor Destruction.”

Gibbons said her first place poem stemmed from a piece she wrote in sixth grade, and was finalized through years of revisions.

“I think it’s my favorite one,” Gibbons said of the four-page poem.

Although she enjoys poetry, Gibbons said she enjoys fantasy writing and often works with her 20-year-old brother, who is also a writer.

Second place was a tie between eighth grader Corrie Parks and sixth grader Camille Chase.

Parks’ poem, “Evergreen,” was inspired by a fantasy book she is writing.

“The rhyme kind of flew into my head,” Parks said. “When I had it, I was like, ‘Whoa, okay.’ And it just kind of came out.”

In her poem, “Starting Over,” Chase reflected on real life events. Poetry was a new genre for Chase, who usually writes long, mystery fiction novels.

“I’m not used to writing really short stuff,” Parks said. “I just let it all out, and that was very helpful.”

Eighth grader Kaylee Hallmon took third place for her piece, “The Mortal Flaw.”

Honorable mentions include Sara Hansen, seventh grade; Andrew Ritchey, eighth grade; Denisha Ramirez, eighth grade; Mackenzie Culpepper, sixth grade; Nicole Lober, sixth grade; Amy Yang, seventh grade; Jada Knight, seventh grade; Jymariya Acoff, seventh grade; Jessica Jacobs, eighth grade; and Karley Wilson, seventh grade.

Minor said she hopes to see the poetry contest become a tradition at Berry Middle School.

“This was our first poetry contest, and it was successful,” Minor said. “(The students) are building confidence and learning to love writing…they feel like they’re becoming confident writers.”