Thirty-six area high school students showed up Thursday, March 5th, at the Grove Community Center to compete in the Eighth Annual High School Poetry Contest sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter #277 of Miami, and the Grove Poetry Group.

Six of those students walked away with cash prizes for the original poems they presented to the seven judges and a large crowd of friends, family members, and poetry aficionados.

 First place went to McDonald County High School student Joshua Chapman for his clever wordplay involving anagrams and palindromes entitled “Grams ‘n Dromes.” He won $200 for his efforts.

Second place and a prize of $100 went to Holly Bates of Vinita High School. The $75 third place prize went to Ronny Grumwald of McDonald County High School. Fourth, fifth and sixth place prizes went to Peyton Simpson of Columbus Unified High School, Brenna Scott of Carl Junction High School, and Kayla Justice of Columbus Unified High School respectively.

“We had a really good turnout this year,” said a spokesperson for the group. “Last year we only had 22.”

Students from Grove, Jay, Miami, Vinita, Commerce, Oklahoma Union, Columbus, KS, Carl Junction, MO, and McDonald County, MO competed in the contest.

Prizes were provided by the Vietnam Veterans.

Veteran, poet and contest organizer, Robert Springer, acted as emcee for the eighth consecutive time, and kept the crowd of more than 100 people warmed up with his own brand silly humor.

Members of the Grove Poetry Group, which was started by Grove resident Judy Sadler ten years ago, meet on the first Thursday of every month at 6:30 p.m.for an open mic reading at the Rheingarten Restaurant. Everyone is welcome.