Symone Stukes didn’t win a monetary prize at the recent Poetry Out Loud contest in Raleigh, but some of the Independence staff is collecting money to present her a prize. Kristine Neale came up with the idea.
Here is the complete report on Symone’s participation in the contest as told by Mrs. Matthews:

Symone Stukes won 2nd runner up in the state Poetry Out Loud Contest.  She has had a long day; the competition started at 8:30 am morning and ended about 11 pm.
Symone won the 1st and 2nd semi-final rounds reciting her 1st & 2nd poem choices.  She progressed to the final round with four other students from different districts who recited their 3rd poem choices.  Out of the five students who competed in the final round, Symone won 2nd runner up (which means she came in 3rd).  A student from another district won the coveted all expense paid trip to Washington, DC to compete for $20,000, and that same student received $200 for winning in North Carolina. The 1st runner up won $100.00.  Unfortunately, the 2nd runner up (Symone) does not receive a monetary prize.  Symone was awarded a certificate, a special book of poetry, and numerous accolades.

The competition was extremely close, and Symone’s position was somewhat unofficially contested. When the winners were being announced, and Symone’s name was announced as the 2nd runner up instead of the winner or 1st runner-up, the audience vocalized expressions of surprise that Symone’s name was not called as the contest winner.

Nevertheless, this experience was special and life-changing for one of our students.  Symone gave it her all, and this experience will remain a memorable, positive learning experience she’ll always treasure.  I am pleased to report she is facing her win as 2nd place runner up with good sportsmanship.

Providing these types of opportunities for our students is a big part of the importance and thrill of teaching.  It’s part of what we do as educators that impacts the lives of the children we serve.

Thank you for your support, and  a Big I special thanks to JROTC, Mr. Bosco, and Ms. Robinson for their donations to help Symone with travel and hotel expenses.  Thanks to her former English teacher Mr. Olsen, and to her current English teacher, Ms. Robinson…and to all of her former and current teachers, and anyone else who has helped Symone with this enterprise. You have positively changed this young lady’s life for the better.
Submitted by Marie Matthews

Independence High School