Winners of the WITS Poetry Contest!

Congratulations to the winner and finalists of the WITS Poetry Contest in the “Origins” category! We had many wonderful submissions from WITS students of all ages. 11th grader Maga Barzallo Sockemtickem won the contest with her poem “Where I’m From”. Maga will read her poem to the audience at the Julie Otsuka lecture at Benaroya Hall this evening. Moneka LaFrombois, Faith Mulugeta, Ruby Strickland and Angie Flores were finalists. You can read the winning and finalist poems below.

Stay tuned for the announcement of the winners in the “Future” category, coming soon!


Maga Barzallo Sockemtickem

Seattle Children’s Hospital

Grade 11

Where I’m From
I am from the beat
of drums, and songs
to be sung, beautiful rain,            
sparkling down
 I am from laughter,
 movies, a drip of water
 leaping high against
The slaughter.
 I come from cracked
 concrete, rose petals
 falling into the deep.
 I am from nights of
 weeping, tears of joy.
 I am from sighs of relief
 and disappointed moans.
I’ve seen the
 world, it’s in my grasp.
 I come from needles
and blood. I come from shortcuts,
 gangsters and thugs.
 I come from words and music,
 so sorely missed.
 Least of all,
 I am cancerous.
Tree climber, jump roper,
 skydiving, playing poker,
feel my feet against
 my land, holding the soil in my hand.
I’m from raised voices
and hard fights, I am
from those red & blue
Broken glass, keys
on the floor.
A lit TV dinner, too early at 4.
I am from white sheets,
white pillows, white blankets
and white rooms. Rooms
with a window, a window through.
I am from denial,
acceptance, and
anger too. I won’t
back down from you.
I am from stubbornness
and spitfire.
I am from refuse to give up.
I am not just cancerous.
You see all this
All things are true
I have my native blood
My life is not written in stone
It’s written in the sky, the breeze,
water and fire, the morning
There’s nothing you can take from me
as long as Earth is alive.


Moneka LaFrombois

West Seattle High School

Grade 9

Midnight cheese cake,
Falling off bikes and ATVs,
Scraped knees,
Walking a mile with grandpa everyday
 Just to pick up the mail,
Cherry smoothies daily,
Waking up to smell of baking cookies and acrylic paints,
Growing older,
Moving into the city,
Learning manners,
Biting my principal,
Being told my name was wrong,
I still hold a grudge against that girl,
Going on to middle school was a mess,
It was easy to disappear,
I met a girl,
She was into fighting,
I got suspended for the first time,
For two things, vandalism and hitting a boy
At first I thought the girl had changed me, but then I started thinking
Maybe that was me, and I had always been like that,
Going to a different school then the girl,
I haven’t gotten into a fight yet this year.
Maybe going our separate ways was a good idea,
But I miss the way I felt with her,
I never had to be in control.

Faith Mulugeta

BF Day Elementary

4th Grade

Where I’m From
I am from coffee, raw meat
and spicy bread.
From tropical weather and
gelati and candy. I am from soccer
and running. From church and
celebrating Easter one week late.
I am from swimming,
love of laundry detergent
and yummy shoes.
I am from the army, Miranda, Coca Cola.
From injera.
I am from curly hair and braids.
This is where I’m from.

Ruby Strickland

BF Day Elementary

5th Grade

I am from the rain –
deep, and cold – but comforting
I am from the cello
my father loves to play.
I am from the sun
shining bright
behind me.
From the snow
that fell
when I was born
I am from the scent of the lotion
my mom always wears
I am from the mac and cheese
my little sister loves to eat
I am from the trees –
their long, welcoming limbs
holding on to me
I am from the key shaped doorbell
on the front of my house
I am from my favorite stuffed
animal from when I was 1. The one that
I thought was a pig – but is just a bear.
I am from the rain.
I am from the trees.
I am from the people
inside of me.

Angie Flores

Seattle Children’s Hospital

My Real Name
Today my name is Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream and Chocolate Shavings
on a Winter’s Day
because I feel like it will be a good day.
Yesterday my name was Yellow Maple Leaf in the Wind
because I was lying on the couch watching T.V.
Tomorrow my name will be a Busy Bumble Bee in the Spring
because I will be going to many places like the grocery store and my aunt’s house.
My friends think my name is Silly Monkey
because I am full of life and spunky.
My family thinks my name is Bullet-Proof Glass
because of what I have to go through in the hospital.
My doctors think my name is Smiley
because every time I see them, I always have a smile on.
But secretly I know my name is like animals in their natural habitat
because I can do and be anything I want to be.

2 Responses to “Winners of the WITS Poetry Contest!”

  1. I really enjoyed your poem. You are a lot of names, and more than all of them. You are the silence that surrounds words, like a nest of poky twigs around a small hubbub of baby birds.
    Rock on!

    • Lyn, again- I was responding to Angie’s poem specifically, but all these poems are winners. I loved “Least of all, I am cancerous.” I also loved “learning manners/ biting my principal,” and the pig that was just a bear.

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