MIDDLEBURY — Six Westover students have been honored for their poetry by the 2020 Alliance for Young Artists and Writers’ Regional Scholastic Poetry Awards competition, including McKenna Rook, a junior from Morris who was awarded a Gold Key, the highest level of recognition.

Ms. Rook’s poem, “The Golden Hour,” will be judged on the regional level of the National Student Poets Program.

Three students were presented with Silver Keys for their poetry submissions: senior Juliane Purves from Charleston, S.C., for three poems, “White Mountains Postcard,” “Shooting Stars” and “How Do I Sin on Sundays?”; junior Grace Brown from Watertown for her poem, “Winter Twilight, Scarborough Beach,” and sophomore Kateryna Hrishina from Southbury for two poems, “Ukrainian Flea Market, 1997” and “Faith in the Flowers.”

Two students received honorable mentions in recognition of their work: senior Emily Benoit from Monroe for five of her poems, “Before the Last Set,” “Waltz the Way Home,” “August Night in Downtown Madison,” “it feels like flames,” and “words too far to whisper,” and sophomore Selana Kurutan from Middlebury for her poem, “Whitefish Lake, Quebec.”

Over the years, Westover student poets have consistently received recognition for their writing on the state, regional and national level of competition.

According to Tom Juvan, the chair of Westover’s English Department, “The poems selected for recognition this year nicely showcase a real range of voices and choices in structure and form.

“This is a testimony to the department’s shared commitment to poetry as a craft that takes time and revision to successfully create something fresh.”

The National Student Poets Program is a collaboration of the Institute of Museum and Library Services with the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers and its long-standing work with educators and creative teens through the prestigious Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

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