BASKING RIDGE, NJ—Already a competent performer, Ridge High School junior Sophie Piedras has added poetry to her repertoire.
Sophie, 17, was named one of 25 national winners of the 23rd Annual National High School Poetry Contest. The competition, which receives more than 15,000 entries annually from the United States and its territories, was sponsored by the Live Poets Society of NJ and “JUST POETRY!!!” magazine, awards up to $500 in individual scholarships to winners.
“I’ve always loved poetry, Sophie said. competition.”
Sophie’s poem, “Until Midnight No Longer Stings” is written from the perspective of an African American girl living in today’s troubled times.
“It’s just trying to show the opposite perspective,” she said, “so it shows her struggle with racism and all that she’s up against.”
The Ridge High School student said she didn’t expect to win the competition. In fact, she entered only to improve her poetry writing. A multi-talented artist, she is taking AP art classes at Ridge High School, recently exhibited one of her works, and even plans to publish a children’s book soon.
“We are so proud of her,” said Sophie’s mother, Janine Kramer. “She’s so artistic and she expresses it in so many different ways.”
Sophie already had a passion for writing, and she recently took two high school courses at Columbia University, a school she hopes to attend after graduating.
“We got to read poetry from people like Langston Hughes,” she said, “and we learned all about the history of New York. It really inspired my poetry about the Black Lives Matter movement.”
For the future, she said she wanted to study sociology, but was considering a double major. Whatever she chooses to do, she insists she will continue to speak out and deliver the message she wants to send.
“I’m really interested in art,” she said, “it’s so important, especially now, to express certain messages that need to get through.”