representing the West

October 2, 2022

We are somewhat tardy in congratulating Diane Sun of Bellevue, Washington, who was selected as the 2022 National Student Poet for the West Region. Selected annually for a year of service as national poetry ambassadors, the juried position is considered “the country’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work.”

On September 27, 2022, Jill Biden hosted the five National Student Poets for a reading of their work at the White House along with Poet Laureate Ada Limón.

The National Student Poets were selected from students in grades 10-11 who submitted more than 22,000 poems in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and received top honors in poetry. From this pool of National Medal recipients, 40 semi-finalists were identified as showing exceptional promise as young poets in their regions, based on their originality, technical skills, and personal voice, and were invited to submit additional poetry and performance videos to distinguished jurors for the final selection of the five National Student Poets.

Sun, who attends Interlake High School, is a cohort of the 2022/23 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Program.

Meet the Class of 2022 National Student Poets and learn more about Diane Sun and the National Student Poets program.


April 5, 2022

2021 Merit Award
by Genevieve Whelan, 6th grade

I look up at my brother who is tall.
I love him in the morning, noon, and night.
He sometimes answers the phone when I call.
He loves his little sis; he will not fight.
My heart leaps because of my big brother.
All I want is my brother to come home.
My big brother loves me and my mother.
I will wait outside for him with my comb.
I wipe my tears when I think of my love.
I loved playing soccer with him and friends.
He opens his arms like wings of a dove.
If he would just come home, it just depends.
Please, Jacob, come home because I love you.
Please come home because I am feeling blue.

*Copyright © 2021 by Genevieve Whelan. Broadside illustrated by Christian Anne Smith.

The Leaf*

March 24, 2022

2021 Walk Award
by Noa Shelsta, 3rd grade

It is spring
I poke my head out of my branch
And yawn

And now it is summer
I fold my arms out of my cozy bed
I spread my arms to tickle the wind
And then I yawn and fold my arms
Back down again

And then before I know it
It is fall
I stretch my arms
That have turned into wings
And lift into the air
And flutter to the ground

Then it is cold winter
I huddle in the earth with the other leaves
Until next spring

*Copyright © 2021 by Noa Shelsta. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

Ode to Dodge Durango*

March 12, 2022

2021 Walk Award
by Maddie Patterson, 7th grade

You are not that car you see
on all the glamorous adds snuck between the Superbowl
You are not that car
worshipped by the ones with the earth in their eyes
You, piece of grimy mountain man’s metal
Are the car we’d ride wild — trout and trails
You, muddy wheeled trail chugger
Highland gravel path climber
With all your smoke and smog — you
No sleek, sexy white car could be as worshipped
— your cracks filled with green moss
Heavy with pine needles and ripped black leather
You carried our canoe — to the sunset and beyond
You carried our laughing bodies,
across the borders to Utah
You held us like we were your daughters,
as we sat sprawled on your roof
Every hot summer day

No, we want you, tender beast
We want your warm dirt on our feet
Your lights to guide us down the highway at night
Your trunk to carry our tangled fishing poles
Your engine humming against my cheek

*Copyright © 2021 by Maddie Patterson. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

Sunset Sea*

March 8, 2022

2021 Merit Award
by Isabella Nelson, 7th grade

The sand so white, like a painting in my palm
Trees blowing in the crisp salty air
Sounds of waves overlapping each other
A ball of yellow light falling beneath the ocean waves
Glowing in hues of orange and pink
Shading into blues and blacks
Looking out you forget
Every trouble, and every worry
Smelling the salty air
And feeling the white sand beneath your toes
Hearing the mesmerizing sound of a riptide
So dangerous but yet, so peaceful
Seeing the lights fade in the background
You get up to leave, and you don’t care
That the sand is stuck to your toes
That the smell of salt has soaked into your hair
You don’t care about anything else in the world
When you walked onto that beach
You left behind every worry or care in the world
When you step off that beach
They start coming back
Like a flu you never quite got over
But you are tired, and you are in peace
And that peace covers up those worries like a blanket
Soothing them into no more then faint memories
For now, you sleep in peace

*Copyright © 2021 by Isabella Nelson. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

Winter Day*

February 16, 2022

2021 Merit Award
by Callum LaPlant, 6th grade

In the winter, all full of white snow
Sets a beautiful Pine Siskin sitting on the snow.
My dog starts barking, I started yelling at my dog,
She keeps barking,
Her tail wagging back and forth.
I grabbed her laser then I pointed it at the ground.
She’s out in a flash
Probably faster than you would know,
Running everywhere the laser goes.
Back and forth.
When she gets distracted.
I grab the camera, by the time I do the Pine Siskin
Was away, in the beautiful white snowy sky.
I look up a little bit more then I see a whole nest
Of Pine Siskins sitting right there

*Copyright © 2021 by Callum LaPlant. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

I Got Lost in my Book*

January 31, 2022

2021 Walk Award
by Peyton Eberhardt, 6th grade

I got lost in my book. My dad calls me.
Not right now, I wanted to say. I’m lost.
Seated on the couch, I sip my warm tea.
Famine. Hunger. An ocean seldom crossed.
A war. A hero. I turn the pages
With excitement. All stories have an end.
Perhaps I’ll read a book about mages.
I’ll find a book that wants to be my friend.
I search and I search. I cannot find one.
Maybe The Lord of the Rings. The Book Thief.
The library closes soon. I’m not done
Finding my book. I want to yell in grief.
I found my soulmate in a time of need.
I check out the book and begin to read.

*Copyright © 2021 by Peyton Eberhardt. Broadside illustrated by Christian Anne Smith.


January 19, 2022

2021 Walk Award
by Ty Colson, 1st grade

Mama…made me son
I love how she handles things
Wishing upon stars

*Copyright © 2021 by Ty Colson. Broadside illustrated by Christian Anne Smith.

Poet’s bio:
Ty is in first grade, doing school from home and on the road this year, and looks forward to returning to Alderwood Elementary in the fall. He loves art, food, jokes, Lego, and riding his trick scooter. He is currently traveling through the Wild West with his family, collecting stickers to put on his helmet.

Lately, Ty has been creating haiku poems with his mom, Ally, as a way to connect and wind down at bedtime. “My mom is very special to me, and this poem is for her.” This is his first published poem. And, yes, Ally’s heart has indeed melted.


January 7, 2022

2021 Merit Award
by Margaux Barber, 2nd grade

I walk out of the portable
pulling the lunch cart down the noisy ramp
I see a seagull, black-eyed, its feathers beautiful.
I walk into the school
pulling the lunch cart behind me.
I walk out to the schoolyard.
I see the seagull again, the same one black-eyed.
I wonder if I will see it again at recess.
I do not.

*Copyright © 2021 by Margaux Barber. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

Poet’s bio:
“I like to read.”

Where I’m From*

January 3, 2022

2021 Merit Award
by Rylie Anderson, 6th grade

I am from the coral dahlias in full summer bloom
from the Norwex rags and messy room
I am from the jam-packed garden,
kale, radish, lettuce, tomato
I am from the half-read book
That two months later, I pick back up
the rocky bottoms, that once belonged to the chinook
I’m from the sticky rolls and big smiles
I am from many years of school,
That I too, want to pursue
I am from Gramps who fought in the war
And Ma’ma who can still play on the floor

I’m from the mad not bad and “won’t you stay little?”
I am from the with Him I shall fear no evil.
I’m from the four-hour drive through winter wonderland.
The sun kisses on our cheeks
I’m from Glendale and 500sq feet
I’m from the Jeep that was stuck in the mud
and the Cabin complete in a week
I am from wooden slippers and Stroopwafel
and six in a golfcart, lucky we didn’t topple
From the finally, someday, never, forever. And the now.
All the moments, all the people,
they shape me and make me into who I am.

*Copyright © 2021 by Rylie Anderson. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

%d bloggers like this: