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Student Poetry

Student Poetry

Our First Annual Student Poetry Contest

The month of April is known as National Poetry Month. To mark the occasion, we invited our students to submit poems they wrote to our first annual poetry contest. 

The response from our students overwhelmed us. Not only did we receive nearly 200 entries, but the quality of poems submitted was more than we could have hoped for. 

And the Winners Are...

When selecting the winning poems, our judges focused on the theme, diction, the use of imagery, rhythm, and musicality. 

Featured below are first place, second place, and several "honorable mention" poems. These poems stood out among the numerous promising entries. We hope you appreciate the works of some brilliant aspiring poets. 

First place and second place winners were awarded Amazon gift cards. All the poems featured here were also published to the Apex Learning Virtual School on Facebook and Google+.

First Place - My great aunt and Alzheimer’s disease by Zoe F.

Second Place - A Poem by Naomi Z.

Honorable Mention - Student's Ode to Now by Sofia B.

Honorable Mention - The Chains by William A.

Honorable Mention - The Trail of Despair by Blake S.

Honorable Mention - The Mysterious They by Megan G.

Honorable Mention - You by Madison B.

Honorable Mention - Rome Was Not Built in a Day by Zoe U.

First Place Poem

My great aunt and Alzheimer’s disease

by Zoe F.

Remember that one cloudy December when I forced open the door

and a bucket of snow crashed soundlessly on my feet?

Ice cubes formed around each individual toe,

the blood in my veins froze like a thin dribble of lava

hardening to a cool pumice, rock solid as

your smoky, burned bread. The ice melted when

Laughter oiled your vocal cords. Remember when

we celebrated America’s insurgence against Britain,

flipping down the tailgate and yelling

“victory” to the skies? Dark debris, like brown-powdered sugar,

littered your hair that night. You couldn’t stop scratching your scalp.

Beads of crimson blood dried under your nails but

Never dried up your humor like the stream

In our backyard, now a crevice full of smooth, round gray stones.

I watch your eyes crinkle at the corners when you look at me,

I know you love me just as you loved spongy, sweet vanilla cake only

two years ago. But I just wish I could penetrate your skull to know

if you remember who I am.

Second Place Poem

A Poem

by Naomi Z.

This is

a story

that is written

like a poem.

The Beginning

In the beginning,

there was a girl.

The girl was awkward,


and small.

She talked to no one,

and no one talked to her.

She only loved animals.

The Pond

By the girl's house,

there was a pond.

By the pond,

there was a family of ducks.

The girl loved the ducks,

and the ducks loved her.

She fed them grains

and seeds

and corn.


all sorts of animals

gathered by the pond,

and the girl

fed them all.

They loved her,

and she loved them.

The Crows

One day, a murder of crows

gathered by her house.

The girl

didn't like the crows.

They were loud

and ugly

and looked like evil.

The girl ignored them

as she traveled to the pond,

but the crows would flock around her

and move when she moved,

cawed when she spoke,

and settled on her head and shoulders.

The girl didn't like this.

She tried to shake them off,

but the crows


came back.

The Invasion

One night,

men in uniforms

with guns and yelling

charged into her town.

They made everyone get up

and go outside.

They ransacked the houses,

collected the treasures,

and killed the livestock.

The girl cried as they shot

all the ducks that didn't fly away,

and the animals that hadn't escaped.

As the girl and her people

left with the men,

she noticed that the only animals left

were the crows.


The men separated the girl

from her family.

She cried some more.

They told her to stop crying.

She didn't,

so they hit her,


She cried even more

as she felt the blood

trickle down her back.

They gave her

a dirty black smock

and told her to change.

So she did.

The next day,

as she stepped into the sunlight,

she saw the crows.

They flew up to her,

and settled on her head and shoulders.

The girl didn't like it

and shook them off.


Many weeks later,

the girl was hungry,

and dirty,

and sad.

Nobody in the camp talked to her,

and she didn't talk to them.

The crows hadn't come to her in weeks.

They watched her

many yards away.

They watched her

as the men yelled at her

and hit her.

They watched her

when she cried softly at night,

when she complained about the cold,

when she listened to her roaring stomach.

They watched

as she became sick

from all those sleepless nights

and cold winds

that wrapped their freezing embrace

around her body.

They watched

as the men lined up the campers

for the daily routine of finding

the sick, old, and weak.

The crows inched closer

when the girl was chosen.

Crows, Once More

The men tossed her

and many other

sick, old, and weak people

into a vehicle.

The girl climbed over rotting bodies

and saw the crows,

once again within inches of her.

They flapped their wings

and flew around,

and they settled on her head and shoulders.

This time,

the girl didn't shake them off.


They say

finding one crow is bad luck,

two meant good luck,

three meant health,

four meant wealth,

but five signified approaching sickness,

and six meant that death was nearby.

This may explain

why the girl had a crow perched on each shoulder,

one on her head,

and three moving when she moved.

Six crows flocking her,

as she dug a giant pit

with dozens of other campers.

Six crows flying away,

when the men opened fire

and killed the people.

Honorable Mention Poems

Student's Ode to Now

by Sofia B. 

They tell me I'm young and I should enjoy it

But the next day I'm "growing up too fast" and "not making the right choices."

I want to find adventure in my day;

In the sun streaming through the redwoods,

In the wind running through my hair.

I want to find peace within myself and happiness with another

But I'm stressed and I'm yearning for a day when I won't be.

Instead of living someone else's life

I'm going to do what's best for me.

Swim in the ocean,

Eat on the pier,

Laugh on the boardwalk,

And be in the now.

The Chains 

by William A.

We are bound by the chains of oppression

They say hands behind your back or I'll pop a cap in yo ass

Every day I step out of my house, I'm afraid they might arrest me

I'm afraid I'll see those flashing red and blue lights come just to mess with me

But no, this isn't wrong, not in their eyes

If I wear my hood up, or I reach slowly in my pocket for my phone

They can shoot me without a second thought, oh no the'll just mow

When they see me, they don't see another innocent man,

They see someone they can stereotype

And in their police report, they might just mistype

Rodney was the archetype

Trayvon had to lose his life

We gotta work together to end this convolution

But we cannot hate and harm them, we must give them absolution

Many died to spark this revolution

In their name, we must find a solution

We are bound by the chains of oppression

Oh lord send us a blessing

The Trail of Despair. 

by Blake S. 

The trail with blistering heat and lost souls,

Wandering with no food nor spirit,

Dying of hunger and no blankets to warm our cold bones,

The wind is dancing like our ancestors,

We were whipped and tortured,

Wagons is where we slept,

Splinters insert our backs,

Our wounds turn black and blue,

Many don't make it,

We are just empty vessels on this trail,

We left our souls back home,

Driven away from a place we once called home,

We could fight we would all die,

We were dragged out without shoes,

Nor our children,

Our spirits lost to this trail,

This unknown detrain with light green grass,

The sun with its radiant heat,

The cold with winds to make bones turn blue and skin turn black,

We drink from brown murky water,

Flies fly around our dead brothers and sisters we don't bury,

We only have time to move along through the dangerous detrain,

Many of us was being executed for an unknown reason,

Some escape just to hide in a pitch black cave,

Were we punished by our gods,

Did we deserve this,

For our vessels to roam this trail,

Or our souls to be trapped in our village,

Or is this meant to be.

The Mysterious They

by Megan G.

I met the Mysterious They today.

At a bus stop was I, when

a mysterious stranger sat down beside me

and gave me a friendly hello.

"Dear Sir," said I," I fear we have not met

And if we have I do not remember our meeting.

I do not even know thy name."

Mysterious They only smiled perplexedly.

"How is it so that you do not remember? We spend so much time together.''

My confusion must have shown for They continued,

"Dear child, sweet lady, My name is The Mysterious They.

I am the They up in corporate,

the They who have answers,

the They who are wrong and go about spreading lies like wildfires.

I am the They who screwed up everything,

the They who are poor and They who are rich,

the They who are there but yet you don't see or touch."

They smiled expectantly.

"But Good Sir," said I," you have answered everything but my question

Pray tell, who are you?"

They patiently explained once more.

"I am the background to your painting,

the white noise to your soundtrack.

I am the silent ones in the noise.

I am crowds of blank faces of

everyone you don't know,

the background extras in the world.

A mere statistic and a number on a page.

Just another empty name."

Again, I replied," I know you not!

Kind Sir, if it is as you say, then how should I know you?"

Mysterious They leaned forward and whispered,

"Indeed, I am you to everyone else

for we are all somebody else to everyone else."


by Madison B.

I had a dream last night

I came to your house

And it smelled like fresh rain


I asked

When I look at you

I gulp in the fresh air

That my lungs have been dying for

The softness

Of your smile

The one that makes my heart melt

I talk to you

And my chest opens

Revealing my damaged heart

That I have no qualms about sharing

Your calloused fingers

Wrap around mine

As we share inside jokes

That never really make sense

I laugh with you

And all is right

When you left

I knew I would see you again

But still

Why does everything

That makes me feel okay

Have to go?

I was soft

And then ripped raw


When you come back

I hope

I will be soft again

I hope

I will still tingle

At the sight of your smile

At the sound of your laugh

At the feeling

Of your calloused fingers

Wrapped around my calloused heart

I hope I dream again tonight

Rome Was Not Built in a Day

by Zoe U.

Sunday waltzes into the room,

white chiffon dress cascading just below her knees,

bowed in the back,

pressed to perfection,

three books tucked neatly beneath her arm.

She greets all she sees with a small wave of the fingers

as the corners of her mouth turn upwards to the heavens.

Her heart sings of shortcomings but her lips stay poised.

Monday missed his 7:40 bus

and half of homeroom.

Does it count as late if you don’t show up at all? 

Thermos holds black coffee,

headphones in,

music up.

He looks down for a second too long

And his rounded specs slide down the bridge of his nose.

“Monday? Are you with us?”

He answers as if on queue.

Tuesday sits in the back of the lecture hall

because the only left handed desk is already taken.

He drops his books on the way up the stairs,

notes losing their order,

Tuesday losing his patience.

The class turns momentarily,

burning holes into the back of his combed hair

searching for where he came from.

We know we saw him somewhere, but it wasn’t in our physics class. 

Was it?

Wednesday is average.

Made the soccer team, but often sits bench.

Maintains a 3.0, but nothing more.

Had a boyfriend… once.

She goes home to her mom and dad and brother committed to UPenn.

Maybe if she just studied a little harder,

Practiced a little longer,

Dressed a little nicer.

It must feel odd being a supporting character in your own story.

Thursday is satin and lace and breaths of almost.

Chestnut hair tied up in a navy ribbon,

never leaves the house without her moleskine,

probably writes poetry but no one would ever know.

Her laugh fills rooms to the brim

and saturates people with the type of joy only ever hoped for.

Storybooks, she says, are why we know how to love.

She’s never experienced this, of course.

Just a guess. Only a thought.

Friday takes the longest of his friends to get ready

because he can’t get his hair to lay flat,

but everyone says he’s worth the wait.

He steps into the room and the mood shifts.

Their eyes shift.

How does it feel to be in his shadow?

When Friday comes,

entourage following,

keg in hand,

he is a bad decision waiting to happen.

Saturday is the girl who helps Friday recover.

She’s the mom of the group,

heart of gold,

always wants to see the best in others,

but some people make it oh so hard. 

Saturday is made for things forgotten,

But she spends her time cleaning up after others’ messes.

Spare moments of hers are spent in solitude,

alone but never lonely.