May 12, 2014
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These Richmond kids are talented poets and everyone should know it.

Winners of the fourth annual “Richmond Writes! Poetry Contest” were touted in City Manager Bill Lindsay’s weekly newsletter released Monday.

While the students had already been recognized at a ceremony in City Council Chambers last month, their accomplishment deserves repetition.

The contest theme this year was “Richmond Identities: Extraordinary Lives/Ordinary People,” honoring the new mural at the Senior Center on Macdonald Avenue. The winners are below, along with photos taken after Mayor Gayle McLaughlin presented the youths with their awards on April 11.


Elementary school winners posing with the mayor (center)

Elementary School Winners

From Washington, Highland, Ford, and Wilson elementary schools:

1st Place: Keshia Isome (“Two Bad Little Girls”), Vanessa Garcia (“Downs Syndrome”), Brandon Kao Chao (“Stay and Go,” Devyn Mariah Barram (“Richmond Sounds”), and  Lucia Rios (“This is Me”)

2nd Place: Christian Saechao (“Watch Out”), Atallah Allen (“Beautiful”), Geriyah Hood (“Welcome to My Life in Richmond”), Felsiha Gonzalez (“Untitled”), Jade Anna Synnott Brandow (“Togetherness”), and Melanie Ramirez (“I Know a Lady”)

3rd Place: Karia Rivas (“Lazzana”), Malaysha Williams (“Harmony”), Lilyana Cauich Kazumi (“My Family Tradition”), and Natalie Guzman (I Am From”).

Honorable Mention: Gloria Zearett (“Cesar Chavez”), Bella Chavez Jackson (“Friends”), and Alondra Gutierrez (“I Pray”)

Middle School Winners

Middle school winners pose with the mayor (center)

Middle School Winners

All from Lovonya DeJean Middle School:

1st Place: Carlos Abdiel Santiago (“Untitled”), and Perla Arce Diaz (“Beautiful Mom”)

2nd Place: Veronica Lopez Delgado (“Untitled”), and Jennifer Cardenas Arceo (Tiny Dancer”)

3rd Place: Abraham Obinyan (“The Skin”), and Hedsauth Bautista (“Change”)

Honorable Mention: Jack Lin (“Untitled”)


High school winners pose with the mayor (center)

High School Winners

From Kennedy and Salesian High Schools:

1st Place: James Kraynik (“Grandmother”)

2nd Place: Jekari Lynch (“Addicted to Laziness.”)

3rd Place: Enrique Hernandez (“Who Are You?”)

Honorable Mention: Joshua Mania (“Brother in Arms”), Neha Venkatesh (“Mother Knows Best”), and Yajaira Sandoval (“My Identity”).

Special Recognition Awards from Haiku Poets of Northern California:

From Lovonya DeJean, Washington, and Wilson elementary Schools

Jennifer Cardenos Arceo; Jade Anna Synnott Brandow; Fernando Rivas; Esther Nguyen; Angel Weaver; Dayanna Velazco; and Brandon Kao Chao.

First, second and third place finishers received a gift card courtesy of an annual Raymond Family Foundation donation. The Arts & Culture Commission sponsors the contest, and the West Contra County Unified School District collaborates each year, according to Lindsay’s newsletter.


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.