Student Earns International Recognition for Poem

Members of the Syracuse Federation of Women’s Clubs invited Syracuse City School District students in first through 12th grades last January to enter the national club’s youth poetry and short story contest. Club President Candace B. Edwards never thought so many students would place or that one student would earn top prize. But in the club’s first attempt to gather submissions for the contest, that’s just what happened.


During the club’s national conference held in June, Edwards learned that a poem — “Teenagers” — written by eighth-grader Paris Conerly from the Expeditionary Learning Middle School placed first internationally.

“When I was called up on stage I had no idea,” Edwards recalled. “I was so excited for Paris.”

The poems were judged for form, word usage, poetic techniques, rhythm and language, spelling, grammar and punctuation. Edwards, along with Ethel S. Robinson, the Syracuse Federation of Women’s Clubs creative writing chair, presented Conerly and three other students at the middle school with their award certificates June 22 during the school’s end-of-year awards ceremony.

Conerly, who will start Corcoran High School this year, stood up to read her winning poem in front of her classmates, teachers and parents. She and two other students also received the President’s Award for Educational Excellence.

“This award is for those students with consistent academic achievement,” Principal Kevin Burns explained. “That means for eight marking periods they earned above a 90 average.”

From left to right, Kevin Burns, principal of Syracuse's Expeditionary Learning Middle School; Ethel Robinson, Syracuse Federation of Women's Clubs creative writing chair; Candace Edwards, President of the Syracuse Federation of Women's Clubs, first-place poetry winner Paris Conerly; Casey LaBrake, Conerly's teacher; Antionette Dowdell, second-place winner at the local level in poetry; Jessica Hodell, writing contest participant, and Emily Goldsmith, first-place winner at the local level and second-place winner at the district level for poetry, pose with their certificates. -- Photo by Ashley Kang

 

 

 

 

ADDITIONAL WINNERS

 

 

ADDITIONAL WINNERS

Paris Conerly
Eighth-grader
Expeditionary Learning Middle School
Poem: “Teenagers”
1st Place Local, Category No. 3
1st Place Central District
1st Place NY State
1st Place National
1st Place International

Shonnan Usman
Tenth-grader
Nottingham High School
Poem: “Stay in School”
1st Place Local, Category No. 4
1st Place Central District
1st Place NY State

Kevin Bartosch
11th grader
Liverpool High School
Short Story: “A Hero Named Zephyr”
1st Place Local, Category No. 4
2nd Place Central District

Ethel S. Robinson, far left, Syracuse Federation of Women's Clubs creative writing chair, and Candace B. Edwards, far right, president of the Syracuse Federation of Women's Clubs, present Huntington Middle School students with certificates for participating in the Youth Poetry and Short Story Contest sponsored by the Syracuse Federation of Women's Clubs this year. -- Photo by Ashley Kang

Dequan Bullock
Eighth-grader
Huntington Middle School
Short Story: “A Day in My Life”
1st Place Local, Category No. 3
2nd Place Central District

Emily Goldsmith
Sixth-grader
Expeditionary Learning Middle School
Poem: “The Classroom”
1st Place Local, Category No. 2
2nd Place Central District

Brianna Cereske & Liam Wenk
Fifth-graders
Gillette Middle School
Short Story: “Pierre LaFlush”
1st Place Local, Category 2
3rd Place Central District

Antoinette Dowdell
Seventh-grader
Expeditionary Learning Middle School
Poem: “In Our Hearts”
2nd Place Local, Category No. 3

Brianna Cereske
Fifth-grader
Gillette Middle School
Poem: “Pancake Cat”
2nd Place Local, Category No. 2