2017 Teen Poetry Contest Winners

2017 Teen Poetry Contest Winners


High School Winner

The Pursuit of Perfection

What is perfection?

It is something we all strive for,
the need to reach it iningrained in every corner of our lives
It hangs there, always just out of our reach
A tantalizing goal that never seems to get closer

We hear its every whisper
telling us we are not yet good enough

That we are skilled, but not talented enough;
That we are hardworking, but not determined enough

That we are kind, but not compassionate enough;
That we are brave, and yet not selfless enough

We see its shadow everywhere
in the brutal comparisons we make between ourselves and others
In the stinging defeat we feel
when we see someone more accomplished
more dedicated
more warmhearted
more generous

But consider-
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Why do we insist on reaching for impossible standards?

Why do we refuse to appreciate what we are?

After all, nobody is perfect

and that's okay.

We each possess our own irreplaceable qualities,
exceptional, one-of-a-kind traits that make us who we are-
strengths which we must learn to embrace

Because the truth is,
our unique imperfections
are what make us perfectly beautiful

Annie Liu
American High School, Fremont
Grade: 9



Middle School Winner


The meadow gossiped of joy,
The children giggled with play,
Prancing through the flowers,
Keeping sadness at bay.

But the world still whispered of sorrow,
Of lost soldiers who never came home,
Wondering, sometimes, if we could survive 'till tomorrow
For those beings with nowhere to go.

But the flowers still whispered of happiness,
The leaves still murmured with love,
Speaking of what
Can only be so
If you manage to rise above.

Jessica Gillson
Graham Middle School, Mountain View
Grade: 8



High School Winner

To Feel is to Heal

She looked in the mirror,
Stared at her reflection,
Then it became clearer,
Why she faced that rejection.

Then she let it loose,
Let herself feel,
Like a bomb when it will deffuse,
She went through this ordeal.

With no one to support her,
And no one to look for,
Her lie became a blur,
And she curled up on the floor.

Then a bang on the door,
Followed by screaming,
She fought her internal war,
Realized she was dreaming.

Woken from this illusion,
Which captured her entire life,
She faced all her exclusion,
And put away the knife.

She stood up strong,
Ready to restart,
Sang herself a little song,
Opened up her heart.

She began again.

Lariya Payal
Monta Vista High School, Cupertino
Grade: 11



Middle School Winner


On the Screen

On the screen
A perfect place
Where mistakes, it seems
Scripted lines replace

The population would not
If reality is what they got
So the people are quiet
and don't give "perfect" another thought

This fiction, you'll find
Is so beautifully written
That it tricks our mind
Into being so smitten

With the concept of flawless
So utterly divine
Yet it is completely lawless
And with it we are fine

All of these fancy lotions
Lipstick and creams too
Will create the wrong notions

Of what perfect really is

Oh that's right, I didn't rhyme
I don't need to, you'll see
Because in a short time
All this will just be

Something you forgot
That fades from the scene
And that's what I get
For not being on a screen

Aditya Sumitran
Cupertino Middle School
Grade: 7



High School Winner

Night Poem

Dark. Quiet. Restless. Full of life. Mysterious.
The night holding wonders of what the day left.
A sun sets and a moon rises, the animals rest for their day is done.
An owl comes out and give a hoot.
It sounds a though it announces the night.
Billboards light up, neon signs shine.
The night can start as early as six and go until the break of dawn at
six, twelve hours of night.
An adventure could begin or end.
Some may sleep as they only care for the sun while others begin to
fully wake up.
As the night wears on...it grows quiet once more
It seems as though the world is at peace.
It is darker now with a mist in the air.
Lights seem dimmer and movements seem slower.
Almost as if time is nonexistent there is a space of no worries.
The moon and sun exchange place once again.
Starting all over and to never end.

Sandy Sabath
Christopher High School, Gilroy
Grade: 9



Middle School Winner

The Sky of Love

The sky is blue

the moon is beautiful

and tonight, together

it's amazing

Juan Moreno
Solarsano Middle School, Gilroy
Grade: 6



High School Winner

Not Enough

He lives and breathes silicon valley
Every night at the dinner table waiting for his parents to say something
And not keep comparing him
To the prodigies on CNN
Or the kids on Ellen
Or the Finnish children who always seem to finish firs
But he is unnoticed, unacknowledged, unneeded

His report card is like a box of alkaline batteries
Extraordinary in every single way
Gifted like under the christmas tree on christmas morning
The world is his oyster
But their grade is not enough

He is not enough to be "relevant"
As if "relevant" means that your're born with a talent
Born with parents that send you to math school
Born with an aptitude to do somethig at the age of 5
He has big dreams

But that starts with a B
And not an A
As if it is not acceptable to be anything
Except for a mathematician writing equations on a wall
As if money is the only deciding factor in your passion
Maybe there isn't a formula for following your dreams
It's too late

It is too late
It is too late
It is too late for all of those children who could have been
The artists of the century
But instead they grew up in a world 

That is someone else's oyster

Greg Corn
Los Altos High School, Los Altos
Grade: 9



Middle School Winner

A Revelation of Taste: Apple

Roxy Karrer
Egan Junior Hig, Los Altos
Grade: 8



High School Winner

sits on my desk: point sharp, brightly yellow, ready to write.

pieces of paper: one with rows and rows of circles.
the other, a packet, with unanswered questions.
not to be opened until instructed.

topics to cover: science, math, and english.
our education system has gifted us with critical information:
"oedipus had relations with his mom"
"the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell,"
but this won't help me now.

hours to complete this task.
I stare blankly at the clock on the wall,
knowing that every minute is one to be used.

possibilities: or so they say.

but if
I break my pencil,
I miss too many circles,
I open the sheaf of paper before told to,
I squander my time,
I don't know enough,

If...I fail

the doors close.
and infinite becomes:
"Answer each question to the best of your abilities.
You may now begin."

Breanna de Vera
Grade: 12


Middle School Winner

Living Moments

Earbuds on
A tune huming
Your mind in the
Depths of imagining

An ice cream cone
The vanilla blessing
Upon your tongue
Sweetly lingering

A creation's birth
Handiwork beholding
Strokes of graphite
Beauty pausing

And artist's moment
Paintbrush dancing
Emptiness gone
Colors splattering

Caroline Park



High School Winner

Deep in The Shadows

The Ravenous trees reached, like gnarled brittle hands,
trying to grasp the boney black birds that swarmed above.

All of nature held its breath as it watched her tremble and wander.
The whole forest surveyed the young woman as she spun around and around,
searching hopelssly for an escape.

Only the birds dared to speak, as though their screeches mocked the red-hooded girl's
inability to flee to the sky.

Her courage and the light of day quickly disappeared, as the twisted limbs of the trees
blocked her only reminder that goodness still existed.

Darkness and gloom cusumed all that lay before her, turning the world into a grim
assortment of gray and black shadows.

As night fell, she flung her fatigued body at the base of a tree and sobbed to herself
as she hid beneath her cape, hoping to shield herself from the darkness of the forest.

Close by, hidden deep in the shadows, he watched her.
From his hiding place, he could smell the hot tears
that dripped down her face.

His gleaming smile widened as he greedily comtemplated
which path would take him to Granny's the fastest.

Rylie Burgett
Gatekeeper Academy, Morgan Hill
Grade: 11



Middle School Winner

Life's petals blooming

Life's petals blooming
Towards the glittering sun.
Pollinated by the friends, family, ideas
That help you grow and have fun.
Sometimes there are tragedies
But strong must be the heat
That could wilt the perfect rose
That smells so very sweet.
Red, white, yellow, pink.
An eternal flame
Of beautiful beings,
But not one the same.
Stand tall and have confidence.
Be your own tower.
Because you are one special petal
In this garden full of flowers.

Ayana Wilmot
Oakwood School, Morgan Hill
Grade: 6



High School Winner


Angela Lee
Saratoga High School, Saratoga
Grade: 11


Saratoga LIBRARY

Middle School Winner

Moon Festival---Sonnet

Mid-Autumn Festival in my homeland
Golden plate lightening a jet black tent
Holding my grandpa and my grandma's hands
Listen to them humming tunes in accent

Sitting beside their farm in the cool air
Nearby creek water washing ancient bedrocks
Wind with scent of rice brushing my hair
In the clouds screeches from an unseen hawk

A tray filled with mooncakes of all flavors
Instead of cutting we each take a bite
The unique sweetness for us to savor
With our time under the moonlight

Pleasant hours fly like fastest go-cart
It will stay forever deep in my heart

Selina Chen
Redwood Middle School, Saratoga
Grade: 7

Back to Top