PBS Logo NPR Logo
Public Media for Central Pennsylvania

2024 WPSU Poetry Writing Contest Winners

poetry contest

Thank you to every student who submitted their poem for the 2024 Poetry Writing Contest.

Hear the winners read their poems. Continue finding inspiration and enjoy poetry by listening to Poetry Moment on WPSU. We look forward to seeing your work in next year’s contest!

Listen to the winning poems here!

Join us in celebrating the top three poems selected from each grade band for the 2024 Poetry Writing Contest!

Kindergarten – 2nd Grade

A Monkey Tale
Scarlett Rose Vasas, Kindergarten
Windber, PA

Once upon a time
A little girl wrote a rhyme
Monkeys are small,
They “ooh ohh ah ah”!
They swing high in trees tall
And eat ba-na-nahs!
They live in the rainforest
Let’s protect their home
I have a stuffed animal monkey
I call her my own.

Mightier Spider
Jackson David Reese, 1st Grade
Ebensburg, PA

It’s dark in our basement and a little scary,
See the spiders in the corners, one is named Larry.
We call him Larry Longlegs so he doesn’t seem so mean.
Webs behind me, everywhere I turn,
But I know spiders aren’t as terrible as they seem.

People think spiders are very aggressive,
but like us, they are just trying to live their life.
Some of them are trying to find a mate,
Like we might find a wife.

The peacock spider has a colorful
tail and he danced to show it off,
But if the male failed and the girl shakes her tail,
the boy spider’s day could be stopped.

The girl spider eats the boy if she isn’t impressed
when he takes a chance.
Just like us, spiders have girlfriends but
they usually don’t eat the boys who can’t dance.
So if you see a spider on the ground,

Don’t squash it: leave it be!
Even if you’re scared when they’re around,
It’s trying to live its life, just like you and me!

The Invisible Dragon
Remington Aileo, 2nd Grade
State College, PA

Deep inside an old dark cave
Lives a friendly invisible dragon.
This unusual dragon named Clave
Doesn’t know his invisible situation.

One day a little boy came in to hide.
The boy had no idea what waited inside.
When Clave got closer and started to speak,
The little boy looked and let out a squeak.

He asked out loud who was there.
Clave wondered why he couldn’t see,
How is it possible a big dragon like me!
Clave roared, moved and touched his hair.

The boy was courageous and reached it’s scales
He told Clave “you’re as invisible as can be!”
“Am I? That explains everything!” Clave yells.
From now on, they are friends for eternity.

3rd – 5th Grade

Alysia’s Dance
Alaina Smith, 3rd Grade
State College, PA

Dryads humming secret songs of enchantment
She joins them, dancing and twirling
The willows listen, branches swaying, moaning and creaking
Dawn breaks, the moon fades
She shimmers

Where art thou, Jeans?
June Acharya, 5th Grade
State College, PA

As spring arrived
You were banished into the never-ending depths of the closet.

We thought it would get warm.
Alas, the temperature went down to 49 degrees.

And we had to retreat back
Into the arms of snowless winter.

But we were too late.

We already had switched our dressers


From Winter
To Spring.


I am doomed
To wear leggings when

The windchill is 30 degrees.

Where art thou, jeans?

Ryleigh Zhou, 5th Grade
Port Matilda, PA

Glittering snow falls to the ground,
Snow, snow, all around.
Blustery winds blow through the air,
Winter, winter, everywhere.
Clear icicles clinging to the roof,
Appearing there in a poof.
Slippery ice frozen to the grass,
Sparkling, and shining like tempered glass.
A white blanket covers the world,
The wind makes the snow swirl.
The Earth is glazed with an icy cheer,
Winter is finally here.

6th – 8th Grade

Natalia Andrews, 7th Grade
State College, PA

I am walking along the streets of the city
My father and I hand in hand

I see a man on the street, sitting down with his daughter
Both look tired

I’ve seen many people without a home
This is different
I watch from afar
He is talking to his daughter
Not much younger than me
She is crying

I imagine that he was telling her everything would be just right
That they would be okay soon enough
People walk past
Not caring
Not wanting to help
Not seeing how lucky they are to have clean clothes and money for food

My father and I walk into the bookstore
I can’t seem to get the out of my mind
“What kind of book do you want sweety”
Do they need food?
“How about this one”
Do they need help?
“Are you okay”
Are they okay?

We walk out and they are gone
It’s over
I could not help
My 5 year old self
Broken hearted

Beautiful Things
Nina Woldt, 6th Grade
Warren, PA

There is always beauty-no matter where you look.
Golden sunlight streaming through an open window shade.
The most gorgeous things are the simplest ones.

Swaying leaves switching outfits, a painter’s magical dream,
A fire dancing and crackling in an ancient stone hearth,
There is always beauty-no matter where you look.

Saltwater waves delicately licking your bare feet,
Memories past framed and drowsing on a wooden mantel piece,
The most gorgeous things are the simplest ones.

Sitting atop a pine swing soaring high up into the sky,
Jack Frost’s frigid paintings left on the frosty windowpanes,
There is always beauty-no matter where you look.

Finding a neglected fountain, moss loved and scarcely gurgling,
Hanging shimmering adornments on the light-weaved Christmas tree.
The most gorgeous things are the simplest ones.

Opening a handcrafted card from a sibling, one that’s replete with love,
A butterfly delicately landing on your hand while paddling on a mist coated lake.
There is always beauty-no matter where you look.
The most gorgeous things are the simplest ones.

Isacc Hogue, 8th Grade
Clarion, PA

In shadows deep, where silence weaves its tale,
A realm of gloom where moonlight dares not sail.
The whispers of the night, a mournful dirge,
A symphony of sorrow, a soulful urge.

Beneath the cloak of stars, a darkness clings,
A tapestry of pain, where despair sings.
The moon hangs low, a pale and sullen orb,

Casting shadows on a world absorbed.

In every heartbeat, a melancholy note,
Echoes of lost dreams, a haunting anecdote.
The wind moans softly through the twisted trees,

A lament for joy, carried on the breeze.

The sky, a canvas of muted hues,
Reflecting the despair that time accrues.
Dreary clouds, like tears, begin to weep,

As the world below descends in sleep.

Within the mist, obscured and cold,
A story unfolds, of tales untold.

A graveyard of hopes lies buried deep,

In the sepulcher of dreams, where shadows creep.

A lone raven croaks, a mournful cry,
As darkness deepens, painting the sky.
A symphony of sorrow, the night’s refrain,

In the gloom and darkness, we find our pain.

9th – 12th Grade

A Passerine’s Desire
Lucy Buchanan, 10th Grade
Tyrone, PA

An aria, waltz, a celestial flight.
But in this enclosure, its wings held tight.
Its melody hushed—its passion suppressed,
but in its heart, a flame still possessed.

It dreams of a life where it could be proud
to soar in the heavens, to touch every cloud.
For, though contained, its spirit remains;
this captive bird longs to break its own chains.

To this analogy, we may relate,
for within us lies a captive bird’s fate.
The cage may be different, but feeling’s same,
bound by our fears, by our doubts, by our shame.

But look deep, dear soul; the key lies within.
Unlock your cage, let your journey begin.
Embrace your truth; let your spirit take flight.
Break free of shadows that dim your own light.

December, 1914
Alliah Crow, 11th Grade
Spring Mills, PA

I wonder if Santa could
turn our rats into reindeer if we
sat on his knee and asked him, I say
and you all laugh behind the light of your cigarettes.
The sky where their smoke disappears is dark,
darker than boots and gunpowder
and tar, and covered in stars.
He wouldn’t mind our
trousers, wet with the sludge
of melted winter on the Western front.
No, ol’ Saint Nick would
be proud of us and
tell us stories so we could
remember what it was like to be children.
Except for you, you’re still seventeen
you just lied about your age, you daredevil.
So impatient for glory.
Your mother sent you warm woolen socks from home
not the tin of cookies she really wanted to give you
because who knows how long before parcels are delivered
and butter is allotted only a pound a person
and she needed some ration stamps left for New Year’s dinner.
And instead of a kiss under mistletoe
my sweetheart gives me
matches and a carton of cigarettes
because even she knows I cannot hear her reprimands
and lectures on bad habits
past the ramparts
of this battlefield.

Maya Dombroskie, 11th Grade
Boalsburg, PA

Grief rains
Like glitter at a party,
Making a god-awful mess
But in the moment,
Feeling right.

Refusing to be swept away,
One brush and a body,
Scrubbed raw, will shimmer
With memories plastered
To skin, tangled in hair.

Reflecting sunlight and pain
On an unsuspecting Sunday,
Revealing a mirrorball
Where there was skin,
Projecting memories
Onto familiar walls, before
We drop, and shatter.

Long after the party’s over
In those million, messy pieces
Grief remains.