Recently, Illinois Humanities and the Poetry Foundation recognized four Parker students with first place honors for their original work.
Winning students Miles Gardner ’27, Sascha Keller ’27, Madeline Lehman ’27 and Lincoln Hamid ’25 were among more than 250 student writers to submit poems to this year’s competition, which honors the legacy of Gwendolyn Brooks, celebrates youth poetry programs and emphasizes creative writing as an activity that binds people across the state of Illinois.
Third grade teacher Nadia Pardesi introduced her students to this competition as part of a unit on poetry she integrated into their study of 3rd grade Chicago neighborhoods. Each year, her 3rd graders study Bronzeville, Pilsen and Chinatown. Working with the Integrated Learning and Information Science Department (ILIS), they study the art, architecture, culture and key figures of those neighborhoods. Pardesi and her students read from Brooks’ Bronzeville Boys and Girls, a book is full of poems that celebrate the Bronzeville community, all from a child’s perspective. After studying the book, students took their own neighborhood walks, explored their favorite cafes or parks and carefully observed the different noises and sights that make up their streets. As a final step, the students wrote a tanka poem using their observations and reflections.
Don’t miss your chance to support these Parker poets at the awards ceremony on Saturday, October 7. This ceremony is free and open to the public and includes readings from winning poets.
Click here to read these amazing poems from our students and other winners.