Release Date: 4/18/2017
Contact: Office of Communications, 443.809.5908

From more than 1,650 entries, three winners selected in Team BCPS Haiku Contest

TOWSON – The new epicenter of poetry has been located, and it is Baltimore County Public Schools.

The first Team BCPS Haiku Contest was announced at the beginning of March, and students and teachers immediately began submitting entries. Every day more arrived and, by the contest’s deadline, more than 1,650 entries had been received from 100 BCPS schools.

With great difficulty and after a lengthy debate, a panel of judges selected just three winners. The judges were impressed across the board with students’ vocabulary, word choice, imagery, and humor. The contest winners – each of whom will receive four tickets to the Baltimore Orioles game of their choice and a BCPS prize pack – are:

Elementary School Winner

What Spring Means to Me
Galosh, huge rain drops
Ambiguous spring weather
Hide and seek the sun

Chloe Phillips
New Town Elementary School, Grade 3
Teacher: Julia Berlin

Middle School Winner
Spring Ahead
Time to awaken
Stems of strength and buds of hope
Plants and students both

Macie Hakim
Sudbrook Magnet Middle School, Grade 8
English Teacher: Katie Hamill

High School Winner

a blank wall stands tall
against a hill of daisies
ripe for graffiti

Joshua Christopher Torrence
George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology,
Grade 9
English Teacher: Rebecca Mlinek

“We are thrilled to showcase the incredible talent of our student writers in BCPS,” said Megan Shay, director of PreK-12 English Language Arts. “Celebrating writing is an important condition for creating a culture of literacy, and we are grateful to the Department of Communications and Community Outreach for providing our student poets with an opportunity to shine!”

The contest attracted entries from students at every grade level, as well as students in the English for Speakers of Other Languages program and students receiving special education services. (Two ineligible entries were received from non-BCPS students: one from a student in Canada (the friend of a BCPS student) and another from a parochial school student in Baltimore County.) Many entries were accompanied with notes – from teachers sharing how much their classes enjoyed the project and from parents expressing their surprise that their children were such good poets.

“A haiku is fun to write because it really highlights the essential words,” said Suzie Rising, music teacher at Joppa View Elementary School. “It gives children a chance to write poetry that really captures images.”

Rising was so inspired by the contest that she had her students write haiku and then set them to music and perform them. (See the Haiku and Music from Joppa View ES Video.)

Other teachers also found ways to integrate the contest into lessons. Sarah Deacon at Perry Hall Middle School coordinates the school’s anime club. Deacon wrote, “Learning about haiku combined perfectly with our goal of learning about Asian culture and our current brush painting/calligraphy activities.”

Because the contest theme was Springtime in BCPS, and because many haiku are written about nature, Tom Melito, a resource teacher/naturalist in the Office of Outdoor Science, encouraged schools working to maintain or earn Green School certification to participate in the contest.

Most of the entries received did focus on nature and the changing of seasons, but topics also included PARCC testing, transitioning from elementary to middle and middle to high school, and favorite foods such as Doritos and nachos.

The haiku were judged by several staff members from the Office of English Language Arts, the Department of Academics, and the Department of Communications and Community Outreach, as well as by Joseph Reisberg, a Carver Center student and a National Student Poet.

The baseball tickets for the winners were generously donated by the Baltimore Orioles.

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