After receiving a record number of entries, the Alfred C. O'Connell Library at Genesee Community College has awarded prizes to seven student poets in its 10th Annual Student Poetry Contest.
Seventy-four poems from 38 poets were entered this year, making the largest number of poets and the biggest pool of poems to date.
First Prize went to Leanne Serrato for her work, "Wisdom of Water."
The award ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 21 in the Alfred C. O'Connell Library. Prizes will be awarded for first, second, third and fourth, as well as an award for a total body of work. This award highlights the poet whose submissions reflected overall high quality. Students were allowed to submit up to three poems.
In addition, two awards will be presented in the Math Poem category. Math faculty at Genesee offer extra credit to students who write a math-related poem and enter it in the contest.
Winners earn a certificate, a journal for future creative writing and are allowed to select an additional prize from an impressive group of gift certificates and prizes donated by local businesses and campus organizations.
This year the contest was supported by The Red Osier Landmark Restaurant, Darien Lake Theme Resort, Genesee Country Village and Museum, AVI Foodsystem, Inc., The Campus Shop, GCC Student Activities Office, and The New Courier.
First-prize winner Leanne Serrato is a nontraditional aged student at the college who has returned to GCC to further her education. She has already earned a BS degree in Zoology and a master's degree in Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University. She aspires to enroll in GCC's Nursing program, building on her existing knowledge base.
"My ultimate goal is to combine nursing with my background in education," she said.
Leanne wrote "Wisdom of Water" in the '90s when she was taking a lot of science classes.
"I used to try to learn concepts such as chemical bonding in terms of human relationships to better understand them," she said. "This particular poem I wrote after becoming tired of hearing my friends constantly complain about unhealthy relationships they were in, yet they wouldn't change anything.
"One of my friends was actually planning her life around a guy she really didn't love and that inspired this poem."
All winning poets are listed below:
First Prize: Leanne Serrato -- "Wisdom of Water"
Second Prize: Laura Neri -- "Daddy"
Third Prize: Christina Mortellaro -- "Distortion"
Fourth Prize: Katie Clemm -- "Desire"
Body of Work Award: Jennifer Curry -- "Oh Baby, What Fools We have Been," "untitled," and "Art in Me"
Math X: Shannon Mulrain -- "Numbers"
Math Y: Jade Scott -- "My Relationship with Math"
Here is the winning poem by Leanne Serrato.
"Wisdom of Water"
Do oxygen atoms sit around planning
their lives based on who they are next to (Carbon, Hydrogen etc)?
If a couple of hydrogen atoms happen by,
oxygen-with its electronegative personality,
enters into a bond (short-lived as it may be)
with those Hydrogens
Is water forever?
Does water think that now, since it is water, it better stay water?
Throw in some heat-
get a little steam.
Drop the mercury-
get a crystal lattice.
That is the wisdom of water-
it knows when
it is time
to move on.