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Young poet earns national award
Grace Versnik, 10, recently won a national award from the General Federation of Women's Club poetry contest for her work "Changing Seasons." (Times photo: Anthony Wahl)

Changing Seasons

By Grace Versnik


In May, it might rain.

The rain may stain your clothes!

You might fight your way inside for warmth.


Puddles galore!

When spring ends, the bell to summer will ring...

Birds chirping, flowers blooming and winds blowing!

August arrives!

Days get cool, leaves turn shades of red and orange coming among us

The school bells ring...


Autumn is coming just you wait.

You'll have more to wear when you run through the gate!

September gardens, October spooks, and November turkeys all rush by!

Because there's another season coming.

Look out the frosted windows!

Snow has fallen on the ground.

Have some hot cocoa, read a good book, sit by the fire with

A warm blanket in a nook.

You'll wake up soon and spring will have sprung.

Snow has turned back to rain.

MONROE - When Grace Versnik found out that the poem she wrote in third grade won the national award in the General Federation of Women's Club poetry contest, the honor carried an added bonus.

Versnik, 10, Monroe, received the award at the Monroe Woman's Club fall banquet Oct. 8, which happened to be the same day as her birthday.

"The best part was we got to go get ice cream afterwards," Versnik said.

Her poem, "Changing Seasons," won the state and then national competition for her age range. Grace, a fourth-grader at Northside Elementary, said she received a little help from her mother, Mandy, in putting the poem together with a few well-placed commas and fewer periods, but the content is all Grace. Grace's poem was written specifically for the contest.

In her poem, she laments the loss of summer free-time with future bell tolls of school but relishes the color of fall, the harvest of September, the fright of October, and the food and family of November.

Grace said fall is not her favorite time of year - Christmas holds that title - but her poem encompasses all the seasons in a natural progression, from spring to summer and to spring again in her final line.

"Christmas is the best because you get presents, and you can drink more hot cocoa than ever," Grace said.

Grace said she writes only for school, but she draws in her free time when she's not outside playing with the neighbors. Grace said her third-grade teacher at Northside Elementary, Katie Abraham, told her at the banquet that "being an author might be in the future," but for now she will stick with finishing school.

Kathy Reffue, a member of the Monroe Woman's Club, said the club sends letters to teachers requesting student participation, and some will make it an assignment or use an existing work. This is the first time Monroe was home to a national winner.

"We have had state winners before but never a national award," Reffue said. "We were just thrilled to death."

She read her poem in front of the 260 or so attendees at the fall banquet, and Reffue said the young poet never stumbled over a single word.

"It was just really exciting, and what an honor," Reffue said.

For now, Grace said writing will take a back seat while she signs up for piano lessons this year. She already has a song in mind she made up after hearing the line, "I'd rather be fishing," that she put to a tune.

"I heard that, so I was like, OK, I have a song in my head now," she said.