The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 17, 2014

Jefferson Area High School students get poetry published

Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — Twenty-one Jefferson Area High School students will soon be published poets.

Every year English teacher, Karen Klein, has her junior and senior students write original poetry to submit to Creative Communication for its anthology, A Celebration of Poets: Midwest, Grades 10-12.

“I sent in 30 poems,” said Klein. “I went through all of them and sent the best of the best. I sent in 30, and 21 got selected for publication.”

Schools that have five or more students published receive a free copy of the hardcover book. Klein said that she has received a book nine years out of the ten she has been participating with her students.

“Every time I received a book, I donated it to the library where it will be housed forever. So, students’ future grandkids can see their grandparents’ work,” she said. “I think that is the coolest thing.”

Because more than half of the poems submitted from Klein’s classes were selected for publication, JAHS is being recognized among the top ten percent of the schools that entered. It also received the Fall 2013 Poetic Achievement Award that is “given to schools whose students’ entries in the contest were exceptionally high merit.”

Klein said, “One of the best parts of the school year, for me, is when the poetry contest results come in. It seems that the people who win never expect to win, so it’s very exciting.”

The Midwest edition of the anthology publishes poems from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. According to a letter from Thomas K. Worthen, Editor at Creative Communication, less than 50 percent of the submitted poems are selected for publication.

“We have found that schools with excellent language arts programs have a much higher percentage of their students’ writing accepted,” wrote Worthen. “With excellent teachers, come excellent writers and sometimes over 50 percent of a class is accepted.”

Klein will also be recognized in the anthology as a teacher who had more than 15 poets accepted. “I think it’s important that students receive validation from experts besides their teachers,” she said. “When it covers the whole Midwest, it’s a real honor.”

One of the selected poems was written by junior, Shawna Pope, who said she is planning to go to law school. “I was excited when I heard my poem was selected. I like writing poetry. I don’t read it; I just love to write it,” she said.

“It lets me express my feelings and emotions,” Pope said. “I re-wrote it, like, ten times before I turned it in.”

The other students who will be published are juniors, Natalie Arnold, Logan Byler, Sam Caskey, Brittany Dean, Albury Henry, Christian Saunders, and Derek Tanner.

Seniors whose poems will be published include Richie Blough, David Bookbinder, Sarah Brook, Samantha Burnett, David Chase, Kayla Hall, Steven Houser, Dusti Pilkington, Leah Preslar, Kadi Scafuro, Caitlyn Stimson, Tiffany Strope, and Kaitlynn Young.