Rotary Club’s annual high school poetry and short story contest winners announced
The Rotary Club of Summit County has announced the winners of its annual high school short story and poetry contests, which are designed to encourage creative literacy among students. Winners received their award certificates and prize money at a Rotary meeting on April 26.
The winners were as follows:
- First place: “One Day in the Future” by Keira Thorsteinson
- Second place: “Good Old Days” by Liliana Wiethake
- Third place: Five-way tie between “Department Store Days” by Samantha Myers; “My Grandparents’ House” by Lauren Quinn; “The words I Wish I Said” by Sienna Sussman; “Loneliness” by Bethany McConnell; “Appreciation for It All” by Ambur Vincze
- First Place: “The Difference Between Falling and Flying” by Samantha Myers
- Second Place: “Unfortunate Circumstances” by Ashley Leidal
- Third Place: “Nakomies Firecurse” by Nora-Noemi Simon
The winning poems and short stories approved for publication are reprinted below.
Heavy with its tears
And drowns out mine
My only friend
My worst enemy
The only thing that won’t leave me
The only thing I can’t get rid of
Hiding in plain sight
But no one sees me
But no one hears me
My thoughts race
My palms sweat
Desperate for friends
But don’t want any
Surrounded by people
But loneliness still creeps up
They say misery loves company
But that’s not true
My misery wants to be alone
But wants people to care
My loneliness hides behind me
It won’t show itself
No one can tell
My loneliness won’t leave me alone
— Bethany McConnell
“One Day In The Future”
Wake up with sun covering the white
Apartment and a soft breeze floating
Along my neck and forearms, pleasantly
Bringing chills down my spine.
Succulent strings of emerald green pearls
Spill out of their pots around the room.
A smoothie of kale, kiwi, and honey,
Sweetness of spinach and granny smith.
Crisp morning air with soft scents
Of roses and buffalograss,
My corgi is asleep at my feet. Breathing
In and out.
Self-improvement rising in my thoughts,
Rubber and metal weights bringing calluses to my hands,
Sweat dripping down my neck and back
As a teardrop would. Weights colliding
Like a sound of bitter bells,
Empowering music, my muscles burn
With a sensation of fire.
Hair pulled into a sleek high ponytail,
As the hairband snaps back on my finger,
Silk lavender pants with a white blouse,
Nude-colored high heels.
Gold jewelry falling over my collarbone.
The office windows overlook Central Park,
My desk basked in sunlight, glowing.
Perfumes and creams, samples enveloped
Through the building, excited workers
With broad smiles rimming their faces.
The smell of black coffee lingering,
People hard at work, expressing ideas back
~Home – Coming~
Door handle turns and clicks,
Shoes removed one foot at a time,
Clothes changed with a sigh and
A smile rises upon the face. The day is
Slowing and it is time to relax,
Aromas filling the room,
The tomatoes and garlic hit the pan
With a sizzle,
Wine poured from the bottle as it splashes
Along the edges of the crystal clear glass
Like waves crashing on rocks,
Colors of amber, marigold, and magenta fill the sky.
The day comes to an end.
— Keira Thorsteinson
“My Grandparents’ House“
Being here, in my grandparents house, reminds me of a far younger self
Of a near child who felt too old for her body
But was, in truth, so incredibly young
Who was too young to feel the weight of an identity she never requested
And too innocent to undergo the kind of heartbreak she would soon see
Now, I am here, and I know what is to come for that girl
I know that her first relationship will be more secret pain than love
And that in her second she will be afraid to give herself away
For reasons she can’t find, but so desperately longs for
I know that she will traverse a year that can only be described as impossible
And that she will survive despite the scars that suggest she shouldn’t
Mostly, I know that she will never again be at home in her family
But, in this moment at my grandparents house,
Watching my grandfather take secret candids of my family as they cook
She will, of course, feel a deep and resilient love
— Lauren Quinn
“Appreciation for It All”
I want to do all the things
But with such little time.
I want to find a person who pulls on my heartstrings
and travel to see European sunsets at their prime.
I want to live without crises
but I’m constricted by time.
Assignments on top of a personal life
and three jobs to fulfill needs;
as my life fills with pain and strife
my issues sprout like a weed
When it may be difficult or even impossible
And the desire increases to end it all
when the bridge to my goals seems uncrossable
I appreciate it still, because I’m in for the long haul
The bundle of tears that wait to fall from my waterline
must wait their turn
I pass the moment by simply saying, “I’m fine”
and continue despite my concern
As I continue through my day
I hope to only survive
wishing for a moment where I feel okay
Now, my desire increases to thrive
I may step outside and see the gorgeous landscape.
The sun creeps from behind the mountains
and the sky creates an escape
I stroll through the park to sit by the fountains
As I sit watching the oh, so satisfying, water
I think of how amazing it seems, until later;
Later I have work and responsibilities to ponder
but I try to keep focused and appreciate it all
A stranger compliments my complexion
and I forget about those bitter insecurities.
Still far from perfection,
but I love myself despite any impurities
I finally feel as if I can breathe
No longer constricted to the standards.
My effort and drive helps me see
That it’s possible to be happy.
I’m here to appreciate it all.
— Ambur Vincze
“Good Old Days“
I wish I could go back to the good old days
With sun kissed faces
And not a care in the world
With dirty hands
And wonder struck eyes
With good night’s rests
And fairy-tale dreams
With banged up knees
And cool stories everyone wanted to hear
With missing teeth
And the excitement of the tooth fairy
With tangled up hair and no reason to brush it
With happy smiles
And long giggles and laughs
With pure kind hearts
And nothing to break them
With beautiful little minds thinking about all that’s good
And wow, how I wish I could go back to those good old days
— Liliana Wiethake
“The Words I Wish I Said“
Every time I think of you
I imagine the words I wish I said,
the words before you left me
To feel unsafe in my own head.
I wish I said I loved you,
even if it would hurt me.
I wish I said you make me nervous
and yet make me feel so free.
I wish I said you make everything seem right,
That I think about you at least every night.
I wish I said a million things but I never did,
most of all I wish I made you happy
enough for you to want to live.
— Sienna Sussman
“Department Store Days“
I may not be a lady now
But I was born a lady then,
And I am sorry that my youth was wrapped in pink ribbon and bow.
I’m sorry I came in the wrong packaging.
I know I will never meet your department store standards,
your cardboard cutouts.
And I’m sorry you will never see the young gentleman I have always aspired to be,
always have been.
I’m sorry you confuse my pricing for worthless
Because I am more expensive than anything in your department
I am sorry I will never be good enough to earn a place on your perfectly polished shelves.
I am not sorry enough to change
As I know there are people out there who would never put me on a shelf much less the wrong one.
There are people out there who will cherish me and place me in their homes amongst their most beloved objects.
and I will never collect the dust that flows through your stores.
They will cradle me in their arms and
Help me fix myself when I am broken instead of discarding me at the first sign of weakness.
I will be loved more than anything your empty miles of storage could provide me.
I refuse to sit on your shelves masquerading in a skin I do not know how to wear.
I will take myself out of my box and flourish in the sun outside your artificial lights.
And like the wind you may never see me again but you will remember my presence
as I stand in the glow of the morning light and my reach soars beyond what you could ever imagine from the parking lot of your dying department store.
and I know you will not join me but when you fall and shatter on the ground
remember I may be the only one to reach out my hand before your descent can make its final bow.
you may not know the products you hold now but do not blame us for coming out of the box damaged when you are the ones who made us in the first place.
— Samantha Myers
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