What started as one veteran’s commitment to peace has evolved into an annual Peace Poetry Contest at Northern Essex Community College that attracts hundreds of peace-focused poems from school children in the Merrimack Valley and beyond.
NECC English Professor Dr. Paul G. Saint-Amand, a Vietnam-era veteran who is committed to peace, introduced the contest six years ago.
Students in kindergarten through grade 12 from both public and private schools as well as NECC students and adults affiliated with the schools are invited to participate in the poetry contest and reading. Participants may create and submit original poems on the subject of peace.
The submission deadline is Friday, March 15. Some 80 poems and accompanying artwork will be selected for publication in a small book of poetry to be released this spring.
In addition, selected entrants will be invited to take part in a poetry reading on Friday, May 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Hartleb Technology Center on Northern Essex’s Haverhill campus, 100 Elliott St.
Last year’s contest attracted more than 1,000 entries from almost 50 schools. The contest is coordinated by Saint-Amand, who has been teaching at the college for seven years and has made it his personal mission to promote peace.
“As an educator, I want to fuel children’s imaginations toward peace,” he says in a release. “A lot more has been written about war than about peace.”
NECC students are collaborating on the project, designing posters and award certificates. They will participate in judging entries and will host the public reading.
Entries can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or NECC Peace Poetry Contest, 100 Elliott St., Spurk 317H, Haverhill 01830-2399.
The contest is sponsored by the NECC Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, the English Department, and the Service Learning Committee. For more information, contact Saint-Amand at 978-556-3307 or email@example.com or visit www.necc.mass.edu/academics/enrichment/service-learning/peace-poetry/.