On Saturday we discovered an abnormally full mail box at the post office (we have no mail delivery in our small town), and in the midst of all the assorted political flyers, bills, and credit card offers were four letters from Creative Communications. Three letters were addressed to E, T, and B, and one to me as their teacher.
Last November I had typed up a poem written as a language arts assignment by each child and entered them online in a poetry contest, limit of one poem per student. The resulting anthology, A Celebration of Young Poets, publishes about 45% of the poems submitted and also gives monetary prizes in each age category. So we were quite pleased when three of the four poems we submitted were chosen for publication. I was worried about J's reaction to not having his poem chosen, but he took it in stride: "I didn't like it that much, anyway," he said.
Yesterday we examined the proof sheets to make sure that all was correct, making a few corrections to B's poem. I enclosed an order form and check for one book ($21.95 plus shipping, not bad) that we'll share with my parents, and we'll receive the book in 6-8 months. The prize money has yet to be awarded, but I signed up online to be a judge for T's age group (7th grade). Prize money would be nice, but we'll have to wait and see....
Also in my letter was the notification that one of my Class Day students in Advanced (Honors) Writing also had her poem selected for publication. So I'm thrilled for N as well -- I may have to embarrass her in class on Thursday by announcing her poem's publication....
It's been a great experience for the kids -- for all four of them actually. It taught them that their written work doesn't have to be relegated into a file when they're done with it but that publication is indeed possible. It also taught J to deal well with disappointment and to be happy for others despite not having his poem selected. In addition, the other three are learning to be gracious "winners" and to not brag about their poems' publication (or at least not in J's hearing).
Other poetry and essay contests are available this winter and spring if anyone else is interested; you can click on this link to check out Creative Communication's next contests.
So congratulations to E, T, and B for having your poems selected for publication in your age divisions, and to J: we appreciate your good sportsmanship!