Chemainus Festival of Trees poetry contest winners announced

Students from Ladysmith and Chemainus received e-readers for writing the winning poems.

Chemainus Gardens Festival of Trees co-ordinator Margaret Perry (centre) presents the prizes for the festival’s poetry contest to Emily Oliver (left) and Courtney Chanin. Missing from photo is winner Roddy Burgert.

A trio of local students were named as winners of the Chemainus Gardens Festival of Trees poetry contest at the festival’s closing ceremony Dec. 28.

Susan Martin, owner of the Book Nook Coffee House in Chemainus, and Christina Godbolt reviewed the poems submitted to the contest and selected a winning poem in each of three categories. The poems’ authors were then awarded Kobo eReaders by Margaret Perry, the festival’s co-ordinator, at the festival’s grand finale.

Courtney Chanin won first prize in the high school category for her poem Trees of Christmas. Chanin, 15, moved to Ladysmith from Kitimat, B.C., in early December, she said. She wrote her winning poem for an assignment in Cheryl Heide’s English 10 class at Ladysmith Secondary School. She knew her poem would be submitted to a contest and that an e-reader was up for grabs, but she had no idea she’d win.

Emily Oliver won first prize in the elementary school category for her poem Baby Jesus. Oliver is a Grade 5 student at St. Joseph’s Elementary School in Chemainus and wrote her nativity-themed poem for a language arts project, she said.

Using few words for someone who reads “a lot” and who is as articulate as she is on paper, Oliver said she was “happy” about winning her e-reader. She wasn’t sure what book she would download first or what her favourite book was at the moment, but her favourite author is Erin Hunter, an alias used by the authors Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, Victoria Holmes and Tui Sutherland for their Warriors series.

Roddy Burgert, a sixth-grader at Ladysmith Intermediate School, won an e-reader for his poem Christmas Tree. The 11-year-old says his poem was inspired by his cat.

“I wanted to put my cat in it,” he said. “He hates needles, he really does.”

Martin said they encountered a lot of great ideas and creative original thought while reviewing poetry submitted to the contest, but as is the case with most writing, work submitted to the contest would have benefitted from further revision.

Perry said two of the Kobo eReaders were donated by Future Shop and a third Kobo was donated by Staples.

***

The winning poems are:

Baby Jesus

By Emily Oliver

 

One night, the shepherds saw a new star.

They and three kings traveled from afar

And brought fine gifts to honour the Lord,

But they expected to see a strong man, with a sword.

Quite an awakening they had, when they saw

God’s gift, laying silent in the hay.

The six-pointed star, with its radiant ray.

The doves sang their quiet song.

They waited for Him to cry, ever so long

For He was special, He was peaceful and calm,

A faint little cross etched in His palm.

He was born to save us all.

Spring, summer, winter, fall

Our faith never ceasing, ever strong.

Jesus loves us, all life long.

 

Christmas Tree

By Roddy Burgert

 

If I were a Christmas tree, I would drop my needles and get them stuck in my cat’s paws.

If I were my cat, I would jump in the snow and fall off the deck.

If I were the snow, I would make people cold.

If I were the people, I would hang ornaments on the Christmas tree.

If I were the ornaments, I would make the tree look nice.

If I were a Christmas tree, I would drop my needles and get them stuck in my cat’s paws.

 

Trees of Christmas

By Courtney Chanin

 

When people think of Christmas,

One special thing comes to mind.

A Christmas tree in green or white,

So many different kinds.

 

Families work together,

Decorating it with care.

Each ornament holds a story,

Just waiting to be shared.

 

A Christmas tree, be it big or small,

Is very important to one and all.

They hold memories filled with joy

Of friends and family or lots of toys.

Now everyone one is gathered round.

The Christmas music is the only sound.

And the snow falls softly in the bay

As we wait for Christmas Day.

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