A Way With Words

Kristian Tull won the Syracuse Peace Council’s Poetry Competition for her poem about peace

When Kristian Tull found out she had won the Syracuse Peace Council’s Poetry Competition, she couldn’t contain her excitement.

“I screamed. I jumped up and down,” the Corcoran High School junior remembers.

The competition is coordinated by the Military Alternatives Education Project. Submitted poems centered around the theme, “How can we build peace?”

The Peace Council received more than 50 submissions of student poems and artwork for the competition.The winners read their work out loud at a celebratory reception at ArtRage Gallery on April 26.

Kristian Toll

Syracuse Peace Council Member Jessica Maxwell and student intern Liz Hess hosted the event. Maxwell said the competition’s purpose is to help young people find their voices and explore alternatives to violence.

“Young people in the district are incredibly talented and creative,” she said. “When we’re going through budget cuts, an event like this really highlights why it’s so important to invest in schools.”

Listening to her daughter present her winning poem, Valiten Tull couldn’t stop smiling. “She’s been doing it so long, we couldn’t believe it’s our daughter,” she said.

Kristian has been writing poetry since junior high school. “My mother says I get it from her,” she said.

Corcoran teacher Kristie Yarnell said Kristian was in her ninth-grade English class two years ago and has always loved creative writing. “She has such a natural way with words; she just puts it down on paper and it sounds awesome,” she said.

Kristian hopes to attend college and study psychology, but says she wants to minor in creative writing.

“I want poetry to stay with me my whole life.”