Fourteen eighth- and ninth-grade Elk Ridge Middle School students were selected to be published this spring after submitting their poems to Creative Communications poetry contest.
The students — Diane Baur, Megan Hibbert, Elena Southworth, Jessica Edwards, Isaac Mason, Kyle Hepworth, Mae Marchant, Sariah Frost, Emmalie Rawlings, Jessica Applegate, Hannah Lee, Abigail Chamberlain, Kaley Lacey, and Sydney Evans — are part of Elk Ridge’s creative writing class taught by Jannifer Young.
“We write poetry almost every day, but only the top 45 percent are selected for the book,” she said.
According to the Creative Communications website, “ What makes a poem or essay stand out is the use of language to create strong images, a topic that shows a unique awareness to an important issue, or a creative approach that shows originality.”
Young said that many of the students’ works that were selected focus on emotions, nature and music. Each student who was selected to be published received a postcard in the mail alerting them to the honor and will have their poems posted at school. They also will receive certificates.
The hard-bound anthology filled with poems written by students from the western United States is expected out this spring. Elk Ridge will have a copy in the school library.
For the past three years, Young has taught students creative writing.
“It’s the best part of my day. I love it. Creative writing allows students to explore themselves. They can be who they want to be — off the wall, weird, honest or explore their worlds through writing,” she said.
Each day, the class begins with a writing starter. It may be a word or phrase to get their creative thoughts flowing and then, they share that with the class, Young said.
Within their class, students will create a poetry book, selecting their favorites from each classmate, so no two poetry books may be the same. This gives students a sampling of everyone’s work from the class they can keep.
Other activities may be short writing assignments and picture books targeted for a junior high audience.
“They love the freedom of writing every day and being who they want to be through their own words,” Young said.