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West Chester Area School District Students Shine in the 9th Annual E-Poetry Contest

This past winter, the 9th Annual WC E-Poetry Contest captivated participants with an impressive display of creativity and talent. Under the expert guidance of Ms. Eileen Hutchinson, Chairman, and committee member Ms. Jennifer Ozgur, the contest saw the addition of a new Kindergarten category (Word Play) along with integrations of Art and Music, enhancing the contest's multidisciplinary approach.

Student reads poem to crowd

The contest achieved a milestone with over 115 submissions, the highest since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Entrants, ranging from young poets to artists and musicians, explored a variety of themes, showcasing their mastery of literary devices and creative expression. The panel of judges, comprising retired teachers and West Chester Writing Project (WCWP) fellows, lauded the participants for their innovative use of craft skills and the enchanting nature of their submissions.

Eileen Hutchinson, contest chairman exclaimed, “I am so excited that the contest is going strong in its 9th season, adding a kindergarten word play category with Art and Music connections. Simply amazed with the diverse voices through creative choices.”

“This platform is a great opportunity to solicit students' perspective of the world and an example of the power of words to change the world,” added the WC E-Poetry Committee member, Jen Ozgur.

The Poetry Awards Celebration, held on April 17, at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Exton, was a highlight of the contest. The second floor’s children’s center was filled with enthusiastic teachers, principals, families, and winning contestants. Live poetry readings, award presentations, and a singing performance dazzled those in attendance, especially the kindergarteners’ dynamic readings during in the K-5 ceremony. The grand prize winners were awarded scholarships worth nearly $2,000 for music, art, and writing programs, along with journals, certificates, and bookmarks. Dr. David Christopher, WCASD superintendent, was a guest speaker, adding to the event's significance with his inspiring words.

Students at E-Poetry Contest Pose Together

The WC E-Poetry Contest is more than a competition; it’s a celebration of emerging literary talent and a promoter of quality writing, speaking, listening, and revision skills. It nurtures writer’s voice, confidence, and style, encouraging students to express their feelings and thoughts across various content areas.

"The WC E-Poetry Contest gives our students an opportunity to shine creatively,” said WCASD Supervisor of ELA 6-12 and WC Cyber, Mrs. Kara Bailey. “The yearly celebration is so heart-warming as junior poets ranging from kindergarten to seniors in high school share their beautiful poems, songs and artwork.”

On behalf of the WC E-Poetry Committee, we extend our heartfelt thanks to all participants and sponsors. This year’s sponsors included West Chester Area Education Association (WCAEA), West Chester Writing Project, Chester County Art Association, Young Rembrandts of Chester County, along with Taylor’s Music Store & Studios for their funding of six program scholarships to the grand prize winner in each category. Special appreciation goes to Ms. Allison Garber for designing the new bookmarks and award certificates, and to WCASD administrators Dr. Sara Missett, Dr. Kailia Reynolds, and Mrs. Kara Bailey for their support.

Younger student award winners at E-Poetry contest pose for photo

“We are truly honored to host such a noteworthy literary event,” said Hutchinson. “It was a poetry kind of night, filled with poems, artworks, and songs that entertained and delighted everyone.”