In commemoration of Black History Month, Buford middle and high school students were given the opportunity to creatively express themselves through writing in the system’s second annual poetry contest.
Organized by the language arts departments at BMS and BHS through the diversity and inclusion program at Buford’s central office, students at both schools were given topics to create their literary works. Judged by a panel of judges from within the school district, winners were chosen from each school and recognized before the Buford Board of Education meeting on Monday, Feb. 21.
Students were able to choose from one of the following prompts:
- A poem discussing the impact of black history
- A poem inspired by a quote from an African American
- A poem that honors and celebrates an African American who has made a positive contribution to society
The following students were recognized for their submissions:
Buford Middle School
- First place — Jennifer Tudor, seventh grade
- Second place — Olivia Duong, eighth grade
- Third place — Hannah Roy, sixth grade
Buford High School
- First place — Isis Davis, 11th grade
- Second place — Sabrina Park, 11th grade
- Third place — Tatum Ozment, 12th grade
“BCS is proud to provide all students various opportunities to participate in learning activities that highlight their creativity and imagination,” said Dr. Lacrecia Smith, director of curriculum and instruction, diversity and inclusion program manager. “Congratulations to all of the talented writers who submitted entries for this year’s BHM Poetry Contest.”
FEATURED PHOTO: Buford City Schools’ 2022 Black History Month poetry contest winners are, from row from left to right, Buford Middle School students Jennifer Tudor, Olivia Duong and Hannah Roy. Back row, from left to right, are Buford High School students Isis Davis, Sabrina Park and Tatum Ozment. Photo courtesy of Buford City Schools.
FIRST PLACE, BUFORD MIDDLE SCHOOL
“Paradox” by Jennifer Tudor, seventh grade
Hate is a disease.It feasts upon the lost.
Especially upon the searching, the miserable ones grasping for a fuel to live
And unfortunate enough to find resentment waiting for them.
Hate is also like a drug.It is addicting, because it gives one relief
but has debilitating downsides.
And inevitably it leads to a steep and quick downfall.
It poisons the mind with its trickery and deception,
and it is sneaky; many don’t realize the emotion creeping into their mind is hate. It never seems wrong in the moment; how can it be wrong if everyone is feeling and acting this way? People can’t possibly believe that the common belief is wrong,
because their safe little world would go crashing down around them.
They can’t realize that that is inevitable.
There is another side to this paradox, however.
One that has benefits to both sides of the relationship,
whether the emotion is someone else’s gift to you,
or you are experiencing the emotion for yourself.
The emotion that doesn’t rip people apart from the seams,
but stitches them back together again.
The emotion that ultimately drives out the hate,
and that often is the very thing that quiets the roaring flame of resentment and loathing. And that is love.
And we all deserve a little, because behind the meaningless shade of your skin, we are all capable of hate and love.
Inspired by a quote from Coretta Scott King, “Hate is too great a burden to bear.It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.”
FIRST PLACE, BUFORD HIGH SCHOOL
A poem by Isis Davis, 11th grade
He had a dream of a world where people were equal
In his life time he experienced the separation of races
As an activist and minister his efforts for peace were not futile He helped to cement the belief that people are the same in all places
She knows why the caged bird sings
Fighting for our rights through her writings and poetry
She connected with the world and showed us beauty in simple things A view of the world was revealed to us in a the way only a poet sees
He claimed what a wonderful world we live in
Millions were moved by his voice and trumpet skills
Representing jazz and improvising so skillfully heads would spin While black culture flourished and bloomed, he renewed our wills
She gave a new meaning to being the first lady
She worked to be a model for women and bring awareness to society’s issues She worked hard to stand out as a black woman in a sea
Full of people who didn’t want her to succeed, nourishing the lights in me and you
SECOND PLACE, BUFORD MIDDLE SCHOOL
A poem by Olivia Duong, eighth grade
Here was a time, many times ago,
When a range had formed low.
With majestic splendor and colors a-flow,
People named the mountains, “Music.”
With time fleeing and the range now a tall giant,
One mountain stood higher, like a fair, formidable fortress to the blazing snow,
But with sure speed and sure spite, the blizzard encaged the humble precipice for itself.
Then, for years the crying musical Everest, with its snow top worn,
Couldn’t allow any black person to earn but scorn.
“For no sub-par dirt should be given such reward!” The blizzard hollered,
Until at last a certain individual proved them smaller.
Like a wisp of ash above the pure white snow,
One stood on top with a gentle glow.
Duke Ellington, that’s his name!
The man who gave jazz a new name!
He created new heights for all to gain.
His passion gave other specks a chance,
To prance up the mountains and create their own peak,
With the fear of a harsh blizzard knocking them off of their feet.
For who has such a dull mind to separate music by colors,
When the catalysts of song were played by all?
The warmer mountain, though still with ice and frost,
Was now a greener being among the others.
SECOND PLACE, BUFORD HIGH SCHOOL
“Conductor Harriet” by Sabrina Park, 11th grade
Conductor of the Underground Railroad, was She Once enslaved, now running Free No more of heavy burdens- Daring as she be, to earn what’s Forbidden Upon Her head, lies Wanted posters for her Return Continuous journeys away from fire’s burn Time is Essential and quickly comes forth Onward toward the journey to Freedom’s North- Relentless was she, throughout Nation’s History Her strong mind comes Around- Anonymous trips through Underground Restless spirit through the Fugitive Slave Act Remnants of Hope provide the biggest Impact Independence from down Below End of an era from up above and down low Tis the end of one’s journey to end Slavery
THIRD PLACE, BUFORD MIDDLE SCHOOL
“Ruby Bridges Did You Know?” by Hannah Roy, sixth grade
When you walked through the door with your head held up high when you were just trying to go to school, Did you know that every little girl in the city of New Orleans held their head a little higher as you walked through that door?
Did you know at that time you were like a hero concerning all?
Did you know when you were only 6 years old? Did you know that you made the world a little bit better? Did you know that the world would never be the same? Never be the same?
Did you know that you made a difference?
I hope you know how brave and strong you were.
THIRD PLACE, BUFORD HIGH SCHOOL
“A Blade is What You Make of It” by Tatum Ozment, 12th grade
Inspired by the words of Desmond Tutu, “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”
What is painted in drier paint than the human heart?
It has been bleeding in the same hue since the beginning of time Beating afresh, smiling, when all other logic rises to depart and yet we still fall at the feet of humanity’s greatest crime We put the value of a soul on the thinnest head of a dime
Long on the river of forgotten endeavor we have sadly bade The knowing that all of the spirit’s fervent and merry rhyme Balances on the edge of a single sharpened blade.
No longer do we try to abide by the empty advice we impart We dispose of the needed words that we sit and mime
Instead we share a seat with the mind of the upstart
And above the voice of reason and fellowship we further climb The color of skin, we always find ways to scorn down upon and begrime Until it’s our own friends that we carelessly try to abrade Do we still burn each other’s skin and use hollow words in place of thyme? Balancing the weight of the world on a double-edged blade?
Why don’t we roll out a new carpet over our acts of compart? Overdue is the awaiting change of the hurtful paradigm
That we all should live in battered broken parts
Too long have we been playing in this fruitless pantomime For we all drape off the branches of the same beautiful brooklime The thread that clovens our streets will break away and fade As we learn that all our hearts are pure, pristine, and prime And there will be no more room for the hilt of the world’s blade.
All of our hearts are tethered together, singing in the same internal rhyme One drop of blood, in the rest of us it will pervade
All in the song, humanity’s souls chime
And we slice through the partition with love’s sharpened blade.