<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1392659690788492&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Skip to content
Watch a Demo

The 2017 CERCA Slam Winners


A complete list of the student poets who earned top prizes in ThinkCERCA’s annual poetry competition



Hear ye, hear ye! The winners of the 2017 CERCA Slam contest have been decided and we could not be more excited to announce the winners.

This year's entrant pool was our biggest yet (triple the size of last year's) and the competition was tough. Student poets from across the country shared original writings and performances that captured emotion, memory, reflection, and insight as only poetry can do.

Our own words cannot do justice to the power of these students', though. Follow the links below to read and watch their masterful, original work:



Grand Prize Winner & Best Free Verse

Talya Byrd, “Why the Sunset Silently Mourns”

Julian Charter School, 8th Grade


Best Call-to-Action Poem

Kyleigh Stevens, “An Open Letter”

10th Grade


Best Sonnet

Wenwei Lu and Yuxin Chen, “The Sea of My Secret”

Gen. George A. McCall School, 8th Grade


Best Solo Performance of an Original Poem

Bailey Duncan, “So I…”

Brookville High School, 9th Grade


Best Group Performance of an Original Poem

Kyla Lewis and Olivia Randle, “Systematical Fear”

GRAD Academy Memphis, 10th Grade


Best Performance of a Previously Published Poem

Amaya Nelson, “Hey, Black Child”

PS 288 Shirley Tanyhill, 4th Grade


Best Humorous Poem

Brooke Voelker, “My Confession”

Middlesex Middle School, 7th Grade


Best Concrete Poem

Garrett Matthews, “Sorrow”

Salem Elementary, 5th Grade


Best Use of Sensory Details

Delielah Tinsley, “Flame”

Victory Christian Academy, 8th Grade


Best Use of Figurative Language

Lilian Reiter, “Nature”

Battle Creek Elementary, 5th Grade


Best Use of Rhythm and Meter

Hana Piercy, “Calmness”

Salem Elementary, 5th Grade



Honorable Mentions

Honorable Mention, Free Verse

Tony Gao and Remy Milroy, “/Freedom\”

Gen. George A. McCall School, 8th Grade


Honorable Mention, Free Verse

Maria Gonzalez, “But why would any of you listen to a girl that is only 13?”

Rachel Carson Elementary School, 8th Grade


Honorable Mention, Free Verse

Jeysson Alarcon, “Ohh America”

Rachel Carson Elementary School, 8th Grade


Honorable Mention, Sonnet

Emily Maiorano, “Our Minds”

General George A. McCall School, 8th Grade


Honorable Mention, Humorous Poem

Olivia Magyla, “Punny Puns”

St. Cyprian School, 6th Grade


Honorable Mention, Concrete Poem

Madison Lail, “Hatred”

Salem Elementary, 5th Grade


Mallory Busch
Mallory Busch

Mallory Busch is ThinkCERCA's Editor of Content Strategy. A graduate of Northwestern University, Mallory came to ThinkCERCA from stops in audience strategy at TIME magazine and news applications development at Chicago Tribune and The Texas Tribune. She holds degrees in Journalism and International Studies, and was a student fellow at Knight Lab in college.