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17th Annual Student Poetry Contest at GCC

“Let’s get back to the voice and vocabulary of being human”

BATAVIA, NY (04/18/2018) Time magazine recently quoted poet laureate, Tracy K. Smith, as she talked about the value of poetry in our world today. She said “Poetry requires us to be humble and beholden to something other than our own opinion. That’s important. There’s too much in our 21st century lives that is telling us we’re the most important thing, that our initial gut reaction is incredibly valuable and not vulnerable, and that our opinions as consumers are more important than just about anything else about us. A poem says ‘No, no. You have feelings. You have fears. You have questions. Let’s get back to the voice and the vocabulary of being human.’ ”

The annual student poetry contest at Genesee Community College is designed to do just that – to encourage and reward students for their abilities to express their feelings, fears, questions and voices through poetry. For the 17th year, the poetry contest illuminated the unique and impressive talents of GCC’s students. On Tuesday, April 17, 2018 the six winning students were honored at an awards and recognition ceremony in the Alfred C. O’Connell Library where they each received a certificate, gift card, and a journal to encourage them to continue their writing.

The 2018 Student Poetry Contest winners, awarded by a panel of six judges, included:

Body of Work: Committee’s Choice – Catherine McCabe-Strong of Rochester

McCabe-Strong is in her final year of Paralegal Studies at GCC. She is a repeat winner of the Student Poetry Contest.

Body of Work: Director’s Choice – Cameron Kowalczewski of East Aurora

Kowalczewski began at GCC in 2016 as an Accelerated College Enrollment (ACE) student and has since graduated high school and is now pursuing an Associate Degree in the Social Sciences with a concentration in English at GCC.

1st Place – Nicole Favata of Dunkirk

Favata is a Fashion Design student at GCC. Favata submitted a poem in spoken word format and the transcript is available on the Poetry Contest webpage

2nd Place – Raxel Piper of Oakfield

Her 2nd place winning poem is entitled “The Perfect Woman.”

3rd Place – Mackayla Poorman of Farmersville Station

Poorman is pursuing an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts at GCC’s Arcade Campus Center and plans to transfer to a four year school for writing and to minor in theatre. Her creative poem format was inspired by several of her favorite authors; Maggie Stiefvater, Jennifer Niven and Jonathan Safran Foer.

Honorable Mention honorsGabrielle Rozanski of Avon for her piece, “Tomorrow.”

The entire works of these students can be found on GCC’s Alfred C. O’Connell Library Poetry Contest webpage.

“Our students have many responsibilities between their studies, clubs, sports, jobs and families that demand their time and attention,” Assistant Professor and Reference Services Librarian Cynthia Hagelberger said. “We are thrilled to see so many of them putting in the extra effort it takes to enter the poetry contest each year. The library is proud and honored to offer a program that provides students with a public forum to celebrate their writing skills and creativity.”

About the author

Frank Parlato

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