Student poets will be soon be scrambling to submit entries to this year’s Lodi Unified School District poetry contest as the Feb. 7 deadline approaches.
Sponsored and funded by Superintendent Cathy Washer, the contest provides a means for students from all grades to display their creative talents and have the chance to win all-purpose gift cards in separate grade level categories — first place wins $30, second place wins $20 and third place wins $10.
No theme is required for the poems, and the topic may be anything school-appropriate, although Washer says there are a few student favorites.
“There have been issues related to anti-bullying, reflecting on themselves, poems about family, poems about love. There’s been a group very much in love every year,” she said.
Many teachers get involved in the contest and make it a part of the lesson plan, while some students submit entries individually. Washer said she even received entries in Spanish last year from Joe Serna Jr. Charter School, which provided its own unique challenge in translating the work.
“What’s really struck me was how well students write at a young age,” Washer said. “Some students in high school submit work that could be published, so it’s really hard each year.”
High school students may even have their work read this year by a local poet, whom Washer is still working to secure for the judging process.
In the meantime, Washer is looking forward to this year’s entries in the hopes that they are as wonderfully entertaining as last year’s.
“With some I just bust out laughing,” she said. “The younger ones will put a picture with it, and sometimes it’s even more intriguing than the poem.”
Poetry submissions should be sent to the student’s school site office or the Superintendent’s Office at 1305 E. Vine St., Lodi.