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Young Poets to be Published

Mrs. Bittner with her soon to be published poets, clockwise from top, Brett Connell, Nikolas Kotesky, Caralyn Elrod, Mrs. Bittner, Peyton McDonald, and Sokurno Brown.

Thanks to the efforts of a third-grade Union County Public Schools teacher,five 9-year-old Western Union Elementary School students will know what it feels like to be published.

The students, all third graders in Jennifer Bittner’s class, will have their poems published in the next issue of “Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans,” scheduled to be released this coming August. The students’ poems were chosen when they entered a contest sponsored by the book’s publishers.

“I always try to look for opportunities to help students achieve, not just academically, but in various ways,” Bittner said. “This is just another way for them to experience life and hopefully, help them grow as individuals and become well-rounded individuals who are an important part of society. I want to help them believe in themselves.”

Of the 17 students in Bittner’s class, only a handful entered the contest, as the activity was optional. Of those, five were chosen for publication.

The poems of Brett Connell, Peyton McDonald, Sukarno Brown, Nikolas Kotesky and Caralyn Elrod, all 9 years old, won the honor of being published.

Some of the students wrote about the world they live in. “I was thinking about what was around me and what happens, so I wrote a poem called ‘Night Sky,” said Nikolas Kotesky. “It’s about nature and what happens.”

“I thought, ‘What do I really like?’,” said Caralyn Elrod. “I like winter because it’s really fun and you get to do really fun stuff.” Her poem is called “Winter.”

Sukarno Brown’s poem called, “Coffee” is about something he enjoys drinking. “It’s sweet and has lots of flavor,” he said. “I like coffee.”

Brett Connell wrote a poem called, “Boom Be World,” after seeing a music video on Discovery Channel featuring astronauts and their perspectives about Earth.

Peyton McDonald’s poem is called, “Freaking Out.” She said she was inspired by her favorite poet, Jack Prelutsky, the author of more than 50 poetry collections and numerous children's anthologies that comprise poems of others.

“It reminds me of the, ‘New Kid on the Block,’ and all those wacky and weird and funny poems,” she said. “So I wanted to try something that rhymes and is wacky like Jack Prelutsky.”

When the students heard their poems had been chosen, each said they were very excited. “I felt like Peyton’s poem, ‘Freaking Out,’ ” Nikolas joked.

This is the second year that Bittner has submitted her students’ poems. Last year, three of her students were published.

“I think this is so cool,” Bittner said. “I wish I had had a teacher who had done something like this for me when I was younger. It’s a way for students to know that if they put their mind to something, they can achieve anything.”

Written by: Deb Bledsoe, UCPS Web Communications Coordinator
Posted: Jan 26, 2012 by Carrie Johnson

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