Ligonier Valley Writers (LVW) has announced the winners of its 30th annual Student Poetry Awards.

This year’s winners include students from schools throughout western Pennsylvania. Winners are as follows:

Naccarato Awards: The Best of the Best

The John T. Naccarato Memorial Award, sponsored by Michele Jones, is awarded for the poem that is judged the best of the best in each age group.

Winners include Dominic Dongilla of Horace Mann Elementary School in Indiana for “The Misfit Shape” (grades 4-6), Anna St. Clair of United Junior/Senior High School in Armagh for “The Hidden Half” (grades 7-9) and Kathryn Mi of North Allegheny High School for “sparrow” (grades 10-12).

Grades 4-6

The winners of the Paul Spencer and Kathleen Brittain Poetry Award for rhymed verse (sponsored by Paul S. Brittain) are all by students in Ligonier Valley Middle School. Marlee Miller won first prize for “2020 . . .”, Jayde Roble won second prize for “Tourette’s Syndrome,” and Parker Hannah won third prize for “Friends You Can Trust”.

Winners of the Chestnut Ridge Literary Award for unrhymed verse, sponsored by Lou and Barbara Steiner, are Liam McMahen of Derry Area Middle School (first prize for “The Court”), Nathan Beech of Ligonier Valley Middle School (second prize for “Life”) and Roman Simmons of Ligonier Valley Middle School (third prize for “The Baseball”).

Winners of the Hayden Savinda Memorial Award for haiku, sponsored by Ronald J. Shafer, are Sarah Daniels of Latrobe Elementary School (first prize for “Spectacles”), Lila Smith of Ligonier Valley Middle School (second prize for “Wonderful Winter”) and Callen McPherson of Ligonier Valley Middle School (third prize for “Park Pals”).

Grades 7-9

First-prize winner of the Highview Farm Award for traditional verse, sponsored by Sally Shirey, is Abigail Showman of Belle Vernon Area Middle School for “Memory.” Second-prize winner is Cortni Tinkey of the Verna Montessori School in Mount Pleasant for “The Waters.” Third-prize winner is Cole Browder of Belle Vernon Area Middle School for “Addicted.”

First-prize winner of the Shirey Poetry Award for free verse, also sponsored by Sally Shirey, is T. J. Sedlak of Belle Vernon Area Middle School for “Into the Storm.” Second-prize winner is Taylor Walsh of Chartiers Valley Middle School for “Diamond Love.” Third-prize winner is Alana Mitchell of Belle Vernon Area Middle School for “I Am Still Me.”

First-prize winner of the Ogden Nash Award for light humorous verse, sponsored by Anita Staub, is Ava Scalise for “Contemplating Thoughts.” Second-prize winner is T. J. Sedlak for “Best Friend.” Third-prize winner is Braden Andrews for “Life of Grass.” All three attend Belle Vernon Area Middle School.

Grades 10-12

In grades 10-12, the first-prize winner of the Dr. Len Roberts Memorial Award for traditional verse, sponsored by Ruth McDonald, is Kathryn Mi of North Allegheny High School for “Admission from Girl to Girl on Opposite Sides of the Altar.” Second-prize winner is Kylie Landis of Somerset Area High School for “I’m Going to School Today.” Third-prize winner is Angel Brennsteiner of Albert Gallatin High School for “Green.”

Angel Brennsteiner of Albert Gallatin also won first prize in the Henry Clay and Gladys Maas Pruitt Award for free verse, sponsored by Candace Green, for “Flying Is Better When We Do It Together.” Second-prize winner is Kylie Landis of Somerset Area High School for “Recipe for a Difficult Decision.” Third-prize winner is Addy Shapiola of Derry Area High School for “Sorry, Barbie.”

First-prize winner of the Marie Martin Memorial Award for romantic poetry, sponsored by Phil and Mary Lou Fleming, is Kathryn Mi of North Allegheny for “Love Dream.” Second-prize winner is Aleena Martin of Blairsville High School for “My Universe.” Third-prize winner is Kylie Landis of Somerset Area High School for “You.”

Two students won three prizes each, a new record for the Student Poetry Contest. Kathryn Mi won the Naccarato Award for grades 10-12 as well as first prize in the Len Roberts and Marie Martin Awards categories. Kylie Landis won second prize in the Roberts and Pruitt Awards categories and third prize in the Martin category.

T. J. Sedlak won first prize in the Shirey Awards and second prize in the Nash Awards categories. Angel Brennsteiner won first prize in the Pruitt Awards and third prize in the Roberts Awards.

Five teachers had multiple winners in their classes: Kelly Ankney of Ligonier Valley Middle School, Carol Aten Frow of Belle Vernon Middle School, Janelle Lombardi of North Allegheny High School, Sarah Pile of Somerset Area High School and April Serock of Albert Gallatin High School.

Ligonier Valley Writers is an all-volunteer nonprofit group serving writers and readers throughout western Pennsylvania. For more about any LVW events, publications and writing contests, visit www.LVWonline.org.

Additionally, LVW has announced that the deadline for submissions of poems, essays, short stories, photos and art for the Loyalhanna Review has been extended to May 10. A new issue of the magazine will be published this year, 30 years after the publication was founded.

If you sent art or writing to the Review in 2020, LVW asks that you resubmit it or send new work, if you prefer. Revised guidelines can be found at www.LVWonline.org. LVW said it invites “all authors and artists to check them and consider submitting.”

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