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The Challenge of Putting Words and Feelings on Paper

" For the past two years, our students have been actively participating in your Celebration of Young Writers contest. In the past, when the book had been published, we have had special "Coffee House" gatherings. One year it was a "Hippy Coffee House" with all the poets in 60’s costumes reading their poems, with guitar music in the background. Another year, we had a Beatnik theme. Students dressed in black with goatees and had bongo drums for backup. We served decaf coffee and brownies. Students, staff, and families were invited to the readings and signings of the books. This opportunity has given our children the challenge of putting words and feelings on paper and making it fun. Thank you. "

---- Kathy Domina

Excited About Participating

" This is the sixth season that my seventh graders have taken part in your program, and I can assure you that this year's class is quite excited about having the opportunity to participate. Please accept my continued thanks for making this opportunity available. It is an activity that my students and I look forward to each spring. "

---- Christine Specht

Let Their Voices Be Heard

" First of all, I would like to thank you for providing such a wonderful opportunity for students to share their writing and let their voices be heard. The poetry and essay contest you are offering clearly demonstrates your interest and commitment in motivating and inspiring young writers. My biggest joy is when a student surprises and impresses themselves with their own work. I feel your contest is one such opportunity for the students to take a confident step forward. Earlier this year, I had my 4th and 5th grade students write patriotic poems to correspond with government units that were being taught in the classroom. When the students came to my class for creative writing, we discussed what patriotism means and what it means to us as Americans. I then put the students into cooperative groups and had each group analyze a different, familiar patriotic writing (Star Spangled Banner, The Pledge of Allegiance, and a poem about the American flag). Each group presented to the class what they had discussed. The students were then asked to write a poem of their own expressing patriotism in their own words. I was impressed with the poems I received. When I told them about the contest, many wanted to enter. I hope you enjoy them. "

---- Pam Pursel

I Saw How Successful Your Program Was

" I was thrilled to see your letter in my mailbox. I saw how successful your program was with my students at the Tolland Middle School in Connecticut. This allowed me to envision what could happen with our inner city school setting in Springfield. Additionally I will be speaking about your organization during my presentation on writing to learn at a conference at West Hartford, Connecticut. Refinding your group is truly a blessing that strengthens that feeling. "

---- Jim Johnston

The Wonderful Motivational Job You Do

" For several years I have sent you the writings of my 10th, 11th, and 12th grade English students, and I have been thrilled to learn the poems you have selected for your prestigious book. Thank you for the wonderful motivational job you do and the impressive book you publish. Thank you, too, for giving students positive encouragement as they learn to put their emotions and thoughts into words. I am proud to send you their work, and I am eager to see once again the book you create. "

---- Elaine Mangham

Students Have Learned to Appreciate the Written Word

" Thank you so much, for once again giving my students an outlet of creativity. My students have enjoyed creating these poems. And, they are so thrilled to have been published in this wonderful book that celebrates the poetry of young people. I am equally excited. I am excited that my students have learned to appreciate the written word and the spoken word. It has truly been an aspiration to see my students write and speak poetry that has pushed them to learn some literacy devices and think on very high levels. The fact that students have been able to "see" themselves better in the poems and novels we read has been a treat. Now, that they can write about themselves, using their imagination, and telling tales about what they experience is the cherry on top of this delectable treat. Again, thank you for the creative outlet and the honor that has been bestowed upon my students. "

---- Walter Taylor

You Can Accomplish Your Dreams

" What I have to say is a bit over due, but thank you. My poem getting published is amazing, I did not think that I could do it but... I have actually been a little speechless since I found out. I have never been so happy or confident, and if I may add that this contest may be one of the best things that ever happened to me. Remember: you can accomplish even the most ridiculous of dreams as long as you put your mind to it. "

---- Cary Williams

An Incredible Program

" Thank you for this honor, I can't wait to enter the next contest. Of all the poetry contests I've seen, this is one of the best, so thank you for creating such an incredible program! "

---- Emily Daluga

Bringing Smiles to Students

" Thank you for running such a fine organization that brings smiles and validity to so many of my writers! "

---- Cathy Carella-Dean

Helping to Inspire Student Writers

" I appreciate all that you do to inspire and validate the gifted and growing writers of our current and future generations! "

---- Jared Scow