Second Annual Peace Poetry Contest for Alachua County Schools

Every day we are bombarded with gruesome details about the unjust wars our country wages in Iraq and Afghanistan. We hear stories about rising death tolls, both American and civilian, and cases of torture in American prisons. Now, more and more of these unsettling issues are coming to light thanks to cables exposed by Wikileaks.

With an increasingly corporate-controlled government that seems to have little regard for the views and desires of the American people, it’s easy to feel helpless and voiceless. Dreams of a peaceful world quickly become mere illusions.

But there is hope for a more peaceful society, without war and destruction. And that hope lies in the children of today who will lead the U.S. and world of tomorrow.

That is why Gainesville’s Veterans for Peace sponsored its second annual Alachua Co. Schools Peace Poetry Contest this year.

More than 200 students, K-12, submitted one poem on the subject of peace and what it means to them.

By fostering ideas of coexistence and cooperation in young people now, we not only hope to initiate a discussion about peace and how to achieve it within our own community, but also to inspire students to work toward a more peaceful world in every aspect of their adult lives.

A panel of English graduate students from the University of Florida, led by Dr. Sidney Wade, judged the poems based on creativity, use of language and age.

The winners will be published in the 2011 Peace Poetry Booklet and will also recite their piece at the Peace Poetry Reading at 2pm on May 14 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on NW 34th Street. Winners will also receive prizes according to their age and place (first, second or third place in their age group).

Please join us in celebrating Alachua County’s culture of peace and also fostering a more peaceful world through the recognition of creative and committed young people.

These two poems were selected by a team of English graduates students at UF under the direction of Dr. Sidney Wade. Both McKayla and Kendall will perform their poems at the free and public Peace Poetry Reading on May 14.

Article by Jessica Newman

Peace is Still

By Kendall McClellan, Senior, Eastside High School
(1st Place for 10th-12th Grades)

Still flat water on a lake;

A mighty eagle on its perch;

Rain falling for any sake;

Bowed heads in a silent church.

Peace is still,

But not man’s will.

Men get lost,

Especially in the dark.

Everything as cold as frost,

The world is filled with savage sharks.

Peace is silent;

Man is violent…

Hello Peace

by McKayla Jinyoung Ro, Kindergarten (Youngest Participant)

You are my favorite

Because you do good for people.

You make them calm.

Everybody is happy

Thanks to you.


See you soon.

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