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BCPS online haiku book cover

Baltimore County Public Schools has created an online book of 165 student entries from the 2020 Team BCPS Haiku Contest.

“This year, when we challenged students to write haiku about the theme ‘hero,’ we were not aware that we were at the beginning of a global pandemic, and that our theme would take on new significance and meanings in light of COVID-19,” said BCPS Superintendent Dr. Darryl L. Williams.

“Many of the haiku submitted shifted from poems about superheroes, family members, and educators to poems about medical professionals and other essential workers.

We appreciate every entry and the support and encouragement our student writers received from their teachers and families. The contest is an annual affirmation that Team BCPS is committed to literary arts and self-expression.”

As a panel of 21 judges sorted through 1,446 haiku from 99 schools to pick the three winners, they also selected another 162 favorites to be compiled into a book.

In past years, the favorites have been published in a softcover book, but this year, an online book will make the selected favorites available to everyone. Arbutus Middle School emerged as the school most represented in the book, with 20 student haiku included. Student artwork from throughout the county was selected to complement each section of the book.

Included in the book are the haiku created by the three winners named in May 2020: Ella Navari, Grade 4, Prettyboy Elementary School; Kiran Bhatia, Grade 7, Dumbarton Middle School; and Maggie Else, Grade 10, Dulaney High School. Each winner earned the following: gift cards from The Charmery, The Ivy Bookshop, and Ukazoo Books, and a framed poster of their haiku from BCPS.

The judges included staff from the Department of Communications and Community Outreach, Office of English Language Arts, and Division of Human Resources, and nine student poets: Lori Ackerman, Grade 9, Dulaney High; Peyton Davis, Grade 10, Catonsville High; Claire Doll, Grade 12, Catonsville High; Sophia Framm, Grade 12, Franklin High; Nadia Karber, Grade 12, George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology; Autumn Koors Foltz, Grade 12, Carver Center; Nola Mak, Grade 11, Hereford High; Preethi Pai, Grade 10, Hereford High; and Joshua Torrence, Grade 12, Carver Center.

The haiku featured in the book were judged blindly, meaning that entries were first organized by school level—elementary, middle, and high. Then, student, teacher, and school names were removed before judges reviewed them.

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