Richmond Writes! Poetry Contest names 2020 student winners

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By Kathy Chouteau

Amid a pandemic-induced shelter-in-place, the Richmond Writes! Poetry Contest has prevailed to name its 2020 winners.

The contest, which is sponsored by the City of Richmond’s Arts & Culture Commission, marked its first decade this year featuring the theme “laughter.” This year’s contest saw the participation of elementary, middle and high school students from about a dozen schools, with more than 400 poems submitted overall.

Typically, the poetry contest would have held an awards ceremony to honor its winners, but given current health orders, it will not take place this year. However, students will still receive gift cards for first, second and third place awards, which will be sent to their homes. To top it off, the students will receive a copy of the poetry book mailed to their homes.

The 2020 Richmond Writes! Poetry Contest winners are:

Elementary School Category

Judges: Sheila Dickinson & Karin Fisher-Golton:

  • First place: “Sink” by Rayven Castro, Ohlone Elementary;
  • Second place: “Humans” by Irma Carvajal, Ohlone Elementary;
  • Third place: “Hola a la playa” by Seba Cohen Humphreys, Washington Elementary.
  • Honorable mentions: “Lawn Mower” by Julian Ramirez, Ohlone Elementary and “Funny Story” by Dalia Cisneros Garcia, Wilson Elementary.

Judge: Terri Hinte

  • First place: “Sunny Day” by Malek Herwig, Kensington Hilltop Elementary;
  • Second place: Untitled by Guillermo Medrano, Kensington Hilltop Elementary;
  • Third place: “Laughing at my Dog” by Cedric Boardman, Kensington Elementary.
  • Honorable mentions: “Laughter” by Parya Azar, Kensington Hilltop Elementary and “My Life” by Jasper Barsotti, Kensington Hilltop Elementary.

Judges: Rob Lipton and Steve Early

  • First place: “The Classroom” by Graciela Weaver, Hanna Ranch Elementary;
  • Second place: “Puppies and Kitties and Bats!” by Imani Bush, Dover Elementary;
  • Third place: “Que Me Hace Reir”” by Azucena Mendez, Dover Elementary.
  • Honorable mention: “Que Me Hace Reir?” by Paul Gonzalez Lopez, Dover Elementary.

Judges: Kate Sibley and Ayesha Walker

  • First place: “The Deep Laughter” by Michelle Rodriguez, King Elementary;
  • Second place: “Laugh is Life” by Miannie Bueno, King Elementary;
  • Third place: “The Diaper Overload” by Shahvir Bhujwala, Kensington Hilltop Elementary.
  • Honorable mentions: “When You Laugh” by Jackie Munoz, King Elementary;   “Laughter” by Mari Sathre, Kensington Hilltop Elementary; “Laughter” by Logan Wood, Kensington Hilltop Elementary; and “Laughter” by Parya Azar, Kensington Hilltop Elementary.

Judges: Anne F. Walker and Michele Seville

  • First place: “Where Are You Laughter?” by Chloie Hahn, Ohlone Elementary;
  • Second place: “Autumn” by Cynthia Zhuang, Ohlone Elementary.
  • Third place “When Laughter Comes Here” by Danee Eldridge, Olinda Elementary; and honorable mentions Untitled by Merist Phillips, Olinda Elementary; “Laughter” by Cheyenne Lopez, Olinda Elementary; and “Ocean” by Ella Zhao, Ohlone Elementary
  • Cover Art: Illustration for “There is Pride in Me” by Amy Campos, Murphy Elementary.

Middle School Category

Judges: Rob Lipton and Steve Early

  • First place: “Some Things That Make Me Laugh” by J. Sarah Franklin, Crespi Middle School.

High School Category

Judges: Rob Lipton and Steve Early 

  • First place: Untitled by Gloria Zarate, El Cerrito High School.