On March 27, 2014, proud students, their families, and educators filled the gym at the Jerry Ross Elementary School for the Fourth Annual P.O.P.P. Awards event. P.O.P.P committee members Katherine Flotz and Judy Whitcomb organized the event along with Katherine’s husband George, Judy’s grandson Louie Cortez, and poet Beverly Stanislawski.
The Power of Poetry Project annually partners with elementary schools to recognize young poets’ creativity and talent. Sponsored by the Indiana Writers’ Consortium (IWC) and generously funded primarily by the Crown Point Community Foundation along with private donors, P.O.P.P. presents awards to students at the local school level and the regional level. This year three area schools participated in the awards event:
Lake Street Elementary School
Cindy Wise Principal
Carey Govert, librarian
Solon Robinson Elementary School
Barbara L. Merrill, principal
Fiona McCarroll, media specialist
Jerry Ross Elementary School
Jennifer Stolarz, principal.
The project began in late summer 2013 when a grant was prepared and then submitted to the Crown Point Community Foundation by September 1st. In October, once the P.O.P.P committee received notification that the project had been funded, we solicited schools and additional funders. In November, a kick off took place at participating schools when committee members presented the project to fourth and fifth grade students as well as staff members. Teachers were asked to have dedicated class time devoted to the reading and writing of poetry. Students were encouraged to explore multiple poetic forms and to begin writing.
All students who submitted a poem received a P.O.P.P. pin. In February, a judging team anonymously selected the winning poems. This year there were over five hundred poems. First, second, and third place poems were chosen from each school in both grade levels. These were the winners at the school level. Winning poems then moved to the regional level where overall first, second, and third place poems were selected at each grade level. All other regional level poems were awarded Honorable Mention. All regional level poems were published in the P.O.P.P. Poetry Book. We also recognized and awarded students who contributed artwork to the book.
An additional event was added to the project this year. On Saturday, March 29th, P.O.P.P. winners were invited to read their poems at the Crown Point Library. The room provided overflowed with standing room only as many of our young poets shared their poems with the large audience.
The P.O.P.P. committee and IWC proudly recognize all of the students who entered the competition and their parents and teachers who supported them in their efforts. Our time spent on preparing for and conducting the project is always rewarded as we call up each award winner and see how proud he or she is of his or her accomplishment. We know students are being impacted in a positive way. Katherine Flotz lives near Lake Street Elementary School, and last week she found a note in her mailbox. It was from a young man in fourth grade at Lake Street. It stated:
Dear POPP Ladies,
Thank you for the awesome award. I really appreciate your group working with us.
From Owen Walkowiak
And you know what, Owen and all of our other participants?
We really appreciate you.