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3/16/2015 - Young Poets Use Words to Teach Grown-ups

 

“Do you think your poems can help older people learn something about kids today? If you let your emotions come through in your poetry, you’ll teach us a few things about your feelings and what you think is important in life.” – Mayor Bill Finch

Bridgeport, Conn. (March 16, 2015) – Bridgeport kids will again be published poets.

Through the “Words on Wheels” program, hundreds of students from Bridgeport schools will write and submit original poetry – and some will see their writing published for 22,000 people to see every day.  At the end of the contest, top poems will be on display on Greater Bridgeport Transit buses throughout Fairfield County.

At Bryant School today, Mayor Bill Finch called the program a teaching moment for both kids and adults, creating a better understanding and dialogue through generations.

“Do you think your poems can help older people learn something about kids today?” Mayor Finch asked second graders. “If you let your emotions come through in your poetry, you’ll teach us a few things about your feelings and what you think is important in life.”

Can you imagine driving around the city and seeing your poems on the bus and riding the bus and having your parents and your families and your community seeing those poems?” said Bridgeport Superintendent of Schools Fran Rabinowitz.

Teacher Ron Rapice has led the contest for five years, supported by funding from the General Electric and the Bridgeport Public Education Fund. So far, hundreds of poems have been published on GBT buses around Greater Bridgeport.

“It’s a great program and it’s great to be part of it,” said GBT general manager Doug Holcumb. About 800 students are expected to submit poems this year.

Mayor Finch, Superintendent Rabinowitz and Hernan Illingworth, a school board member, kicked off the contest today as second-graders piled into a city bus to read award-winning poetry from fellow students.

Mayor Finch shared a poem of his own, written by Joyce Kilmer.

“I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree,” Mayor Finch said. “It’s one of my favorites. That’s the benefit of trees. They give us all kind of great things but we get to climb them too.”