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The Eberhart Poetry Contest will be held this coming April

By Edwina Harder

Gifted Services for Talent Development Coordinator

American poet Richard Eberhart was born in Austin in 1904.   He grew up on a 40-acre estate named Burr Oaks and his father was a vice president at Hormel. Eberhart left Austin for college, first at the University of Minnesota and then Dartmouth.  He published poetry volumes throughout his lifetime, even while working other jobs.  Eberhart won all four major awards for poetry in his lifetime.  He was also known as a person who helped other poets.

Though Eberhart died in 2005, his legacy lives on here in Austin.  The library at Austin High School is named in his honor.  Also, every year K-12 students in Austin Public Schools can participate in the Eberhart Poetry Contest.  Students submit original poems and each building’s poems are read by a committee to determine the three building finalists.  Each building’s finalists are invited to read their poems at our annual “Night of Poetry” event. The public is welcome to attend this free event.

This year’s “Night of Poetry” will be held on Tuesday, April 14 at 6 p.m. at the Historic Hormel Home.  Finalists will read their original works of poetry and honor a person in their life who has encouraged them in their writing.  After all poems are read, the “winner” for each building will be announced.  This winner receives a cash prize from an endowment that the Eberhart family has set up through the Austin Public Education Foundation.  The Friends of the Public Library also sponsor this event and every finalist receives a book of poetry as a reward.

This year’s finalists include the following students:

Miley Cruz Basurto—Southgate

Charlotte Bliese—Banfield

Wren Clinefelter—Austin High School

Sadie Coddington—Banfield

Jacqui Delgadillo—Sumner

Emmaline Dundas—Woodson

Ellen Ekins—Ellis

Ross Flores—I.J. Holton

Jude Hovland—Banfield

Nadia Hummel—Ellis

Griffin Jordal—Neveln

Sophie Kaercher—Southgate

Rayna Krebsbach—Austin High School

Junenila Lailen—Sumner

Keagan Larson—Austin High School

Kailey Lopez—Neveln

Sawyer Loucks—Neveln

Pleh Meh—I.J. Holton

Peyton Nordeng—Southgate

Emma Stanley—Ellis

Haidyn Tabor—I.J. Holton

Xavier Vera—Sumner

We hope you will consider joining us at the Hormel Home on Tuesday, April 14 at 6 p.m. to hear the poems these students have written.  This event is a collaboration between Austin Public Schools, the Austin Education Foundation, the Friends of the Public Library and the family of Richard Eberhart.  Come and celebrate the impact that one of Austin’s early citizens had on our world—the power of the written word.