Olly Murs, Lauren Child, Rio Ferdinand and Joseph Coelho have chosen a Worthing girl’s poem as a regional winner from 25,000 entries in the Premier League Primary Stars poetry competition.
Ava Yeates, seven, from Springfield Infant School was the south east winner with her poem called Cookie Cutter, written to the given theme of diversity.
She was presented with a framed copy of her poem and a bag of books at a whole school assembly this morning.
Head teacher Becky Wycherley said: “We are very proud of her. I don’t think we have ever had a win like this in Springfield before.”
A video message from author Lauren Child was played, in which she told Ava: “Everybody noticed the lovely vocabulary used and the way you put words together in a very particular way that gave the poem personality.”
Ava worked on the poem as part of a literacy group run by teacher Alison Pernet.
Mrs Pernet said: “I was just absolutely astounded by the enthusiasm of the writing group.
“Ava chose to write an acrostic poem and used powerful language, analogies and similies. I was blown away by it.
“With Ava’s line about robots, they said they could imagine it and they were really carried away with the powerful language.
“We talked about what they like about other people and we wanted to celebrate differences while accepting we all have similarities too.
“We do all sorts of writing and we use a thesaurus to try to find more interesting words. When the children think of a word, we get together as a group and they help each other.
“People think children won’t understand but they are so responsive to new language and they are so interested in it. This us really fired up enthusiasm for poetry in the whole school.”
Ava’s parents Daniel Yeates and Rachael Saulsbury were special guests at the assembly.
Rachael said: “She has always loved poetry and reading and writing, and that is something she as always loved to do in her spare time.”
Ava’s framed poem, with the first letter of each line spelling out diversity, will be hung in the school outside the head’s office for the rest of the school year, then go home with Ava when she moves on to middle school.
Do we all look exactly the same?
If we did, what would it be like?
Very dull and everyone made from the same mixture. Cut from the same cookie cutter.
Everyone walking sadly and slowly.
Robots marching up and down with frowns on their faces.
Same clothes, same emotions, all going to the same places.
It would be a weird world of photocopied people.
Thank goodness the world isn’t like that – a gloomy, overcast planet of plainness!
Yes… there are so many wonderful differences, but we all have a heart beating inside us, and we can all be friends.