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Hall student is national poetry contest finalist
Poem began as class project and teacher submitted work to competition
Katie Rose Dionne

VIDEO: Watch the poetry reading

Stream of Consciousness

My pen is a water strider skimming the page
Whirling, twirling, unfurling letters into words.
Thirsty for knowledge
Of flora, fauna and flow.

I ride rivers in my dreams
Track treasure on Georgia streams.
Splashing, crashing, geo-caching;
A watershed moment.

Discovering the prize
Not in a box,
But in memories too wild to be tamed
By mere pen and paper.

Katie Rose Dionne

A Hall County eighth-grader’s thirst for knowledge landed her behind a podium at the Library of Congress, speaking in front of international students and former poet laureates.

Katie Rose Dionne, an eighth-grader at the Da Vinci Academy in Oakwood, was selected as a finalist for the River of Words competition — an international poetry and art competition for students.

Dionne’s poem, “Stream of Consciousness,” was chosen as one of the best from a crop of thousands from around the world.

As a finalist, she was given the opportunity to read her poem at the Library of Congress on Monday night in Washington D.C.

“It was really exciting,” said Dionne. “It was such an honor to represent Georgia and my school and be able to go up there.”

She even got to meet the former United States poet laureate Robert Hass, who is a co-founder of River of Words.

“To meet a poet laureate was awesome,” said Dionne. “It was really inspiring.”

That inspiration can fuel a passion that has been present since elementary school, when she began to write poetry.
But, even before then, her parents embedded in her a love of the written word.

“We’ve always encouraged reading and we always read to her at a young age,” said Nancy Sturtevant, Katie’s mother. “Usually, I think the best writers are really good readers, too.”

Dionne says she uses her poetry as an escape from the chaos adolescence can present.

“It’s just really fun because if you have lots of things jumbled in your head you can get it all down on paper,” said Dionne. “It’s just a way to get all the stress out.”

The middle schooler joined more than a dozen finalists and 10 winners for the awards ceremony.

Students flew in from all over the world, including Nepal, Pakistan and numerous states, to participate.

“I think it was just a total surprise,” said Sturtevant. “You never realize with a contest like this where thousands of kids send in work from all over the world that your child would be chosen as a national finalist.”

Her poem, which describes some of her time spent at Camp Elachee, began as a class project, and her teacher, Lyndrid Patterson, submitted the student’s work to the competition.

“Certainly, as a parent, you just feel proud that your child has a chance to express themselves,” said Sturtevant. “It’s nice to see a positive poem and one that expresses her love of nature.”

Dionne won’t stop writing anytime soon, nor will she forget her trip to the nation’s capital.

Actually, the trip still seems kind of like a dream.

“It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Dionne. “I still can’t believe it.”