CVEF puts on captivating poetry and art show

This year the Castro Valley Educational Foundation decided to put on a poetry and art contest for middle schools and CVHS.  The Poetry and Art Show was hosted by the Castro Valley Public Library on April 10.  With over 300 entries, 20 from the middle schools and 321 entries from CVHS, the judges had their job cut out for them.
“We are very proud of the student participation we received, as it was a collective effort between student, parents, and school officials,” said Winda Shmizu, a member of the CVEF Board of Directors.
Before the show began students, relatives, and teachers were able to view the 25 pieces of art that were selected from CVHS.  The Chabot Room at the CV Library began to fill up with a numerous amount of people.
“The positive energy in the room was amazing,” commented Smizu.
Daren Wilkerson began the show by reciting an ancient poem that was simple, to the point, and meaningful.  Pat Payne, a member of the CVEF Board of Directors then went on to thank the judges and people who had participated, among them was Jo Sutton, Adrian Lopez, Anne Parris, and all of the teachers in the English Department for promoting the contest and encouraging their students to participate.
The time that everyone was waiting for finally arrived as Payne announced the winners:  Bonnie Xu, winning with first place ($100 prize) with her poem “Kill The Cat,” Queenie Quan came in second place ($50) with her poem, “Murder with a .45 Caliber, Balys Ragenas with his poem, “Darkness” and Yesenia Gutierrez with her bilingual poem, “Mother” tied for third place ($25).
The top 25 finalists’ poems were then read whether by the poets themselves or Wilkerson or Parris.
One particular poem that stood out was not one of the winners, but from finalist Zemira Zabanovic, with her poem “Unizivilized Genocide.”  Parris tried to maintain her composure as she read Zebanovic’s poem.  The poem was truly touching and eye opening to those that did not know about the genocide that occurred in the Balkan area in the 1990s as she had experienced herself and heard from stories from her family members.
The poets then continued reading their poems for the attentive crowd as it came to an end and  Payne thanked to everyone for coming.
“Our goal was to provide an educational event that would empower students in the community, and poetry provides students with the opportunity to letting people know what is in their mind and also the opportunity for teachers and students to work together,” said Shmizu.
After the show, Queenie Quan commented she made her poem in black and white, making red one of the prominent colors because she wanted people to understand that  “life isn’t as bright as it seems, but we keep going.”
The art and written work was displayed in the Teen Room in the CV Library until May 11 and then moved to the halls of the District Office.  The pieces will be returned to the students by the end of the school year.  CVEF plans to make an anthology with the middle school and high school students which will be available in the library, middle school, or high schools.
“The Poetry and Art Contest will happen next year around the same time,” said Shmizu.


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