From verses of a "soggy, boggy froggy" to the pack-animal hunting mentality of human bullying to thrills of mountain biking, from dire comparative world economic inequalities to NFL hero dreams, from mesmerizing onomatopoeic beauty of raindrops to exquisite revelations of perfection's slippery slope, Portola Valley school children made a showing of remarkable talent in this year's celebration of the art form: the Portola Valley Annual Poetry Contest.
Chosen from a record 438 entrants, 31 winners shared their poems with a standing-room-only audience equally enthusiastic and tuned in to the poetic gifts on offer.
Surely the poet-gods of Mount Olympus were in attendance as well — and smiling — as the event unfolded into a charmed local marking of National Poetry Month. (Submissions were made during April, the month designated 16 years ago by the National Society of American Poets.) The community celebration took place on May 24 at the Town Center.
The annual event is sponsored by Friends of the Portola Valley Library, in collaboration with library staff (thank you, Angela Luis, youth services librarian!) and with local school teachers and administrators.
This was the 13th annual poetry contest and celebration hosted in the community.
• Kindergarten: Tanner Benz, first place; Isabelle Armsby, second place; Tyler Doernberg, Third Place; Everett Miller, honorable mention.
• First grade: Evan Ruiz, first place; Hannah Drew, second place; Nicholas Zamboldi, third place; Olivia Cheney, honorable mention.
• Second grade: Aston Axe, first place; Lanier Poland, second place; Leah Shaw, third place; Brennan Strecker, honorable mention.
• Third grade: Karel Andres Ruiz, first place; Cassia Jones, second place; Brisa Vaughan, third place; Courtney Yee, honorable mention.
• Fourth grade: Lindsay Skrabo, first place; Eliza Sandell, second place; Nora Brew, third place; Maria White, honorable mention.
• Fifth grade: Naomi Rubin, first place; Alex Vercruysse, second place; Chris T. Russell, third place; Billy Youstra, honorable mention.
• Sixth grade: Joseph Puglisi, first place; Ava Collat, second place; Robin Sandell, third place; Max Leiter, honorable mention; Samual Putney, honorable mention.
• Seventh grade: Samantha Ramsey, first place; Valerie Filloux, second place; Emma Law, third place; Nicholas Treynor, honorable mention.
• Eighth grade: Rebecca Whitman, first place; Robert Wilson, second place; Kelsey Gosling, third place; Anisha Reddy, honorable mention.
• No entries in ninth grade.
• Tenth grade: Camille Nohra, first place; Sophie Hulme, second place; Madison Hughes, third place.
• Eleventh grade: first place forfeited; Emma Wiszowaty, second place.
• Twelfth grade: Kaitlin Bonfiglio, first place; Abigail Faisal, second place.
Lenora Ferro is a writer and poet who has been involved with the poetry contest for many years. She is a Friends of the Portola Valley Library board member.