An 8th grader who wrote an original poem about showing courage has won the Frank E. Bolden Literary Contest 2010, sponsored by the diocesan Commission on Racism.

The winner – whose family, because of her young age asked us to identify her only by her first name, Savanna — was selected from 138 entries submitted by middle- and high school students from across the country.

She was recognized and received a $100 U.S. Savings Bond during the May 1st Absalom Jones Day celebration. The celebration honors the first African-American priest ordained in the Episcopal Church in the United States.

Contestants were asked to write about courage, faithfulness, and persistence – qualities attributed to the Rev. Jones. Entries could be essays, poetry, or fiction. They were judged on originality, clarity, and composition.

Savanna titled her work “Courage.” It reads:

Not listening to others
When they say you’re no good.
Facing your fears
Like you know you should.

Not being afraid
To take a stand.
Like the people who fought
To save our great land.

Standing up
For what is right.
Martin and Rosa
Fought the good fight.

Now people of all colors,
Races, and creeds
Join hands together
To do a great deed.

Helping in Haiti
And other treacherous places.
Now America is united
With all of our races.

Never give up
When you feel down or blue
Because courage is found
Inside of you too.

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