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Christopher Valdenegro Poetry Contest » Home


2014 Winner:
“There’s No Place Like School”


School is the door that closes vacation,

The window to more education

The entryway of learning leading to…


                        The kitchen – where teachers whip out all sorts of education delicacies,

                                                ahh, the pun gent smell of tests and quizzes


                        The dining room - a study hall for late-night crammers,

                                                     the sound of pencils eating homework


                        The library – full of textbooks and resources,

                                              shh, the silence of an unpopulated room


                        The bedroom – where closed books sleep in their locker beds

                                                  waiting  to be awakened for the next day



                                                                                    Mila Reyes

                                                                                    Class of 2016

2014 Runner-up:

“A Pen Like No Other”

My pen is as dark as the rock of obsidian

Jet black and smooth like hand-blown glass

It’s ink flows like the waters of a creek,

Never skipping.

Color as black as pitch,

Down the side of its cylindrical body is

A metallic stripe in the shade of slate,

Disrupting the onyx barrel

With a beautiful ribbon of sophisticated design.

My pen has a fine felt tip,

It’s point like the peak of an arrow head.

Ideas and words flood from my pen

And creates pictures with vivid detail

Setting them in the paper – a task

That no pencil could ever achieve.

I will treasure you

Until your ink runs dry,

Never lose you nor lend you to hands

That will push down your point.

You will be the one to transcribe

Those thoughts of fleeting, momentary genius

And be the tool in creating those images

That everyone do admires.

                                                By: Alyssa Solares

                                                Class of 2016


2013 Winner: My Mother's Cooking

She cooks what she feels,

with a side of music,

surrounded by spices and utensils,

she dances how she pleases,

she sings as she cuts the peppers and onions,

the tears falling down her face.

While her hips follow the beat of the cumbias,

she begins to throw peppers and onions,

into a pan of chicken,

pouring in her secret homemade sauce.

The smell of perfection,

roams the house like a playful child.

Laura Rodriguez

Class of 2015

2013 Finalist:
My Aunt's Woods
Years ago at the lively age of six
My father and I traveled north to celebrate Thanksgiving
With my outer family in the mysterious state of Washington.
Unaware of what wonderful times awaited me
I whined and cried as I was bored
And could only look forward to the food.

The day after the scrumptious feast
I sat in my aunt's dimly-lit living room
With my face buried into a session of Super Mario.
My teenage cousins, playing a gratuitously bloody shooting game
ordered their nose-picking younger siblings and me out of the room
suggesting we should dig up nightcrawlers and beetles in their forest.

Thrown out of the house after much complaining
my cousin and I took their advice seriously
and agreed that a good place to find bugs
would be deep in the dark, moist, unknown section of the woods,
where foul creatures were said to have lurked under rocks
and "snatch pesky kiddies who disturbed them."

After we mustered up enough courage
We sprang into the forest
and quickly realized that we had been cruelly tricked.
For the woods were lush and the plants were painted vivid green
And the pine trees towered overhead
With sweet needles that tasted of citrus.
The pine trees towered for seemingly miles overhead
And many slouched at the angle perfect for climbing.

After getting our hands scraped and dirty
We discovered a lonely red swingset
Lying sadly near the back of the woods.
I reached it first and swung merrily for a while
And my cousin pouted and quickly stormed away
back toward the mundane farmhouse.
I smiled and jumped off the swing
Knowing that I must reach the house
Before my cousin bawled to her parents about my selfishness.

The following day my dad and I said our goodbyes
and flew back to the southland
where I anxiously awaited my next vacation
For I deeply missed my family,
but even more, my green playground.

Diego Hooghkirk
Class of 2015 

2013 Finalist:


From the mouth of a jealous teenager,
Into the ear of a curious friend,
Among the murmurs in the girl's locker room,
Across the football field,
Past the crowded lines of the cafeteria,
Through the desks in the classroom,
Within the whispers of nosy children,
A rumor spreads.

Alexa Giron

Class of 2015

2013 Finalist:

My Grandma's Laughter

My Dama's Laughter

Floating down the hallway

On a hot summer day

Soft and carefree

As playful as the breeze

Bouncing off leaves on a cool windy day

My Dama's Laughter

Reminds me

Of picnics at the park,

And cold ice cream cones

In the front yard late one June

My Dama's Laughter

Strong and happy

Her flawless Spanish flows

To Mexico through the phone.

My Dama's Laughter

Rich and golden, like smooth honey

Always brings me home...

Samantha McCullar-Reyes

Class of 2015