The Home School Court Report
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September / October 2005

You can homeschool through high school
Contest attracts young poets

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Contest attracts young poets

Home School Legal Defense Association's first annual poetry contest struck a chord with homeschoolers. A family in Iowa wrote to us, "We have a daughter who lives and breathes poetry; what a joy it will be to offer her the challenge presented by the contest." Although this was the contest's initiation year and writing in a strict form is difficult, HSLDA was very pleased to receive 176 entries.

The judges were impressed with the quality of the poems in both categories. "Truly deserving of recognition," one judge said of the winning entries. "They were genuinely good poems."

In Category I, students ages 11-15 wrote a Shakespearian sonnet on the theme of "time." The first-place poem in this category was Phylicia Duran's "Mount Vernon's Grandfather Clock."

Second place went to Madeleine Marsh for "The Day," and third place was awarded to Christina Bishop for "Don't Grow Up."

One of our judges says, "As someone who did not learn to write sonnets until college, I am both impressed and encouraged to see the winning pieces characterized by strong imagery and feeling."


For Category II, students ages 16-18 wrote a villanelle-an intricate form derived from 16th-century French poetry-on the theme of "suffering." First place went to Matthew McDaniel for "In My Own Morning," second place to Lauren De Vries for "Chrysalis," and third place to Kelly Rose Tillson for "Requiem-1929."

Another judge commented, "It was difficult to pick winners for the high school contest. There were far more than three with a poetic quality that deserved recognition. We feel that the pieces chosen show a particularly good use of the villanelle form, as well as the use of language and images to get across a clear, vibrant idea."

First-place winners in each category received $150, second place $100, and third place $50.

Proceeds from the contest will be given to HSF's Special Needs Children's Fund.

Category 1 (ages 11-15)

1stPhylicia Duran
2ndMadeleine Marsh
3rdChristina Bishop
Alexandra Newman, Rebekah Curry, Kiersten Cory Linder, Michelle E. Frazer, Aubrey Poole, Elizabeth Stearns

Category 2 (ages 16-18)

1stMatthew McDaniel
2ndLauren De Vries
3rdKelly Rose Tillson
Kalani Quidera, Kirsten Buslinger, Peter Forbes, Casey Palmer, Grace Ann Lichlyter, Jordan Roberts

Winning poetry

Mount Vernon's Grandfather Clock
by Phylicia Duran, age 15

The clock's undaunted rhythm measured time
Since placed upon the staircase long ago,
Each room resounding with its hollow chime,
A gentle music, swelling soft and low.
With every peal its quavering voice sings
Of years, of lives, and battles from days past;
Each lilting note pausing before it rings,
As to savor time, for it takes wing fast.
Its rhythmic hymn has not ever lost beat;
Not clanged or clamored when danger was nigh,
Nor stalled for cold, snow, driving rain, or heat;
Its song rolling on as the years pass by.
Faces and fashions fall away with time,
Yet still reverently ringing is the chime.

In My Own Morning
by Matthew McDaniel, age 16

In my own morning there is silence, here
The sounds of breathing are enough to shock;
The darkness has not found me yet this year.

Across the pale blank sky the sounds of fear
Are drifting, born from waking lands, and knock
At my own morning. There is silence here.

And then the voices enter in: the tear-
Stained home, the hungry child. I have no lock,
The darkness has not found me yet this year.

They draw me on toward grief. Side, front, and rear,
The ill-spent life, the widow, unmoved mock
At my own mourning. There is silence here,

All vanish, and the trucks, the birds I hear,
Loud, obnoxious. Slow, back and forth I rock.
The darkness has not found me yet this year.

And I will stand and go my way and peer
As one blinded by light; there is no dock
In my own morning. There is silence here:
The darkness has not found me yet this year.