Ravenscroft fourth grader Elle Warner has been recognized by the North Carolina Reading Association for a poem she submitted to their local Young Authors contest earlier this year.
Elle was the only Ravenscroft student who participated in the contest, with the help of her third grade teacher, Denise Simpson, who is a member of NCRA. The Raleigh-Wake Reading Association selected her work, a poem entitled "Not Alone," to advance to the state contest, where it was chosen by a panel of judges as one of the winners.
"I've always loved writing. It's always been my thing," Elle said. "I entered the first time in third grade when Mrs. Simpson encouraged me to do it. That year I wrote a poem called 'Seasons'" that also went to the state finals.
This year's prompt asked students to write about their personal experiences with perseverance: overcoming obstacles, finding strength in a time of weakness, and/or what inspired them to rise above a particular challenge. The submissions could be prose or poetry, fiction or nonfiction.
"It was much harder [than last year's topic]," Elle explained. "I wrote about starting at a new school, which I've done a few times. A lot of people can relate to that."
Elle said she particularly likes the part that reads, "Then you look up to the sky/And mutter some pleas of help/You try to search for some hidden spark of bravery/Hidden deep in yourself ..." (Read the full text of Elle's poem below.) "That's one of my more poetic lines," she said.
Elle's fourth grade teacher, Crystal Keefe, was pleased — but not particularly surprised — by her student's success at the state level. "Her writing is so detailed and vivid that it transports readers into the world she is describing," Keefe said. "I am so happy to see her excel in a space that she cares deeply about and am excited to see where her creativity takes her!"
Simpson, who taught Elle last year, agreed, saying, "I am so proud of her accomplishments with writing."
Elle has been a prolific writer for several years, saving poems and short stories on her Google drive. She said she first fell in love with storytelling several years ago when she created narratives around her role-playing in Minecraft and then shared them with her little sister.
The NCRA is a nonprofit organization of educators and citizens who have a passion for encouraging literacy. Their Young Authors contest draws submission from students of all ages across the state. Elle and other state winners will be recognized at a celebration on Saturday, March 17, at the Raleigh Convention Center.
The cold bites at your white face,
You're all alone,
And a little bit scared,
Walking up to an entirely new place,
Everybody else has at least one friend,
Who also bears the cold,
Together munching on candies,
That someone brought to lend,
You are new at this school,
But, unknown to everyone else,
You have feelings too,
And hate walking by yourself,
But then you spy another girl,
And suddenly you know,
You are not the only one,
Walking by yourself in the cold,
You look over at her,
Then quickly look away,
You want to have your old friends,
To not be alone on this chilly day,
Then you look up to the sky,
And mutter some pleas of help,
You try to search for some hidden spark of bravery,
Hidden deep in yourself,
Then you bravely stroll over to the girl,
And you quietly say your name,
Suddenly it seems like a bad idea,
So you start to shy away,
But then she calls a simple 'hi',
And it says so much,
The true meaning hidden inside,
So you walk back over,
Courage coming back,
And start a conversation,
Suddenly things are back on track,
Now you have lots of friends,
And the school isn't so new,
But you will always remember the lesson,
Of someone being nice to you.