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by Malina England

Back in February, (before all our lives changed forever), I received information on a national poetry contest for students. Being that I love reading and all things English (as I am the English teacher), I was excited but didn’t know if my students would be interested. After all, they hate to write! But when I explained it to them, along with the chance to win some prize money, about half of them were up for it.

We spent class time brainstorming and writing poetry. I was amazed at what came out of their hearts. Our students have stories to tell. Soon, I sent in the entries and they kept asking, “Mrs. England, have you heard who won yet?” Then the pandemic happened and the poetry contest was all but forgotten.

Several weeks ago, I received word from the publishers who informed me that all of my students’ work was selected to be published in the 2021 "Through Their Eyes" book. I was elated and couldn’t wait to tell them. And just like I thought, pride and confidence lit up their eyes as they learned their work was chosen out of 5,000 entries across the country. Words can’t describe how proud I am of them.

For our students, this is a big deal. Most of them struggle daily with reading and writing. But this proved to them that they can achieve something great and boosts their enthusiasm for learning. And I have to admit, it boosted mine too.

Read some of the featured poetry here:

Sister by Meghan Lowery

Image by Chase Underwood

My Dog by Tanner Wilmouth

My Secret Love by Hunter Wyatt