Queens students crowned winners of PAL poetry contest

By Esther Animalu

Five Queens students were named winners in the Police Athletic League’s competition for creative poetry for children across the five boroughs.

The PAL Arts After School Program give students the opportunity to explore their artistic skills and writing abilities as a whole.

“The Police Athletic League holds a three-part Poetry Writing contest, which collectively is called PAL Poetry Jam. Poetry and artistic expression are not always at the forefront of school day learning,” said Dana Wheeler, director of Education and Program Development at PAL. “However, Police Athletic League’s after school programs believe in the importance of this learning to support self-expression, artistry and developing literacy skills. Throughout the process, participants learn about poetry, write, illustrate, perform and see their work come to life.”

The winners from Queens include fourth-graders Noriah Gaither and Larell Davis and eighth-grader Faith Cummings, all from Goldie Maple Academy Beacon in Arverne; first-grader Paris Ware from the Edward Byrne Center in Jamaica; and seventh-grader Lara Jane Bousseau from the Pathways Prep Center in St. Albans.

The winners will have the opportunity to work alongside spoken word professionals and showcase their talents at the annual Poet’s Café at Affirmation Arts Gallery in Manhattan.

“Participants select a poem that speaks to them and illustrate their interpretations. Not only do the children have the opportunity to express themselves with words and rhyme, visual learners and artistically leaning students can show how the poem makes them feel or interpret what it means to them,” Wheeler said. “The poems and illustrations are matched and published in a book, with credits to poets and illustrators.”

The PAL Poetry Writing Contest showcases verse strategies, puts an accentuation on innovation, creative energy, and recognizes the abilities that its members have. Additionally, the poetry challenge was available to students in first through eighth grade.

The poems that won will be complied into an anthology and distributed to the public. The PAL aims to continue to inspire young students through the power of creativity, expression and individuality.

Reach reporter Esther Animalu by e-mail at eanimalu@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4574.

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