Great Hearts Online Students Shine in Statewide Poetry Contest

Great Hearts Online Arizona June 3, 2024

Great Hearts Online students who won statewide poetry contest

The Arizona State Poetry Society (ASPS) recently announced that two Great Hearts Online Arizona scholars took first and second place in the grades 1-4 category in their 2024 Youth Contest. Tyler, a fourth grader, won first place for his poem, “Pupu’ole,” and his third grade sister, Emi, won second place in the same category for her poem, “Riding Free.” The siblings from Chandler, Arizona, were among 188 young poets who submitted poetry in their category. This was the second youth contest held by ASPS throughout the state of Arizona, with nearly 700 submissions received in total for all categories, grades 1 – 12. Besides receiving a monetary prize, their poems will be printed in the ASPS Annual Poetry Anthology.

Both Tyler and Emi have been enrolled at the Great Hearts Online Arizona Academy for two years, and their mother, Nicole, says they will continue at the online academy next year as well. “Seeing my children blossom and find confidence in their writing has truly been a gift! I’m thankful that Great Hearts Online has helped my children cultivate an appreciation for classic literature and poetry,” she said.

Great Hearts Online academies are fully accredited, tuition-free schools offering a rich, classical liberal arts curriculum including advanced math and science, robust arts, and foreign languages. This is classical education your way! The online academies follow the same values as the brick-and-mortar academies at Great Hearts, which, for 20 years, have educated students with the same clear and steadfast purpose: to cultivate the hearts and minds of students in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

Tyler said his poem was inspired by a recent discovery he made. “I wrote about finding a seashell on the beach and discovering it had a living creature inside,” he recalled. “This experience was really special to me, and I wanted to remember it.”


Hawaiian sea snail
Burrowed deep
Under crashing waves
At the shoreline in La’ie.

I build a sandcastle.
Digging a moat, with my hands,
scooping foamy water and sand
Surprise! I hold a smooth, slippery, spiral
Pupu’ole shell!

I look inside the swirly shelter
A living creature moves!

Even though I love the sea snail,
I think it would be sad
leaving its seashore home.

This pearly white treasure
is not mine to keep.

I say goodbye,
digging gently,
and return the creature
back to the salty sea.

“I was surprised and happy that my poem meant something to the judges,” said Tyler. “I have an awesome ELA (English Language Arts) teacher, and she’s helped me become a better writer!”

“I love that we learn and memorize different poems in ELA,” said Emi. “I think that’s why I love poetry! I wrote about learning to ride a two-wheel bicycle. I just learned to do it all by myself this year.”

Riding Free

I got a bicycle for my birthday!
Grape jelly purple with pink taffy stripes
It has a basket, sparkly streamers,
a tinkling bell.
And most importantly,
no training wheels!

I am scared, curious, but eager to ride,
without help, all by myself!

At first,
my dad holds the handles,
I push down hard on the pedals.
I am wobbly, falling,
stopping, and starting again

Suddenly, my dad lets go and shouts,
“Just keep pedaling! You’ll find your balance!”
I’m nervous, trying not to fall, but
I am moving forward!
Slow at first,
then faster and faster.

The wind blows away my fear
and blurs the colors and sounds.
I hear my dad’s footsteps chasing after me
He is always close by, just in case
My family cheers me on!

I am strong!
I feel alive!
With my bicycle,
I am riding free!

“I love my teachers at GHO,” said Emi. “They encourage and support me.”

Join us in congratulating both Tyler and Emi for this amazing achievement and recognition for their writing talents at such a young age. We look forward to more fine works of poetry from both of them in the future.

Great Hearts Online Arizona is now enrolling Arizona students, grades K-10, for the 2024-2025 school year. An Enrollment Advisor is standing by to answer your questions and guide you through the application process. Learn more at Great Hearts Online Arizona.

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