Saratoga Loves Poetry

Students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade who live or attend school in Saratoga were invited to participate in the Saratoga Loves Poetry contest, which kicked off in September 2023! Winners in each category were chosen November 2023. Submissions were grouped into the following categories:
-  Kindergarten - Grade 2
-  Grades 3-5
-  Grades 6-8
-  Grades 9-12

Kindergarten - Grade 2 Winners

Isabella Chao

1st Place

Isabella Chao

I am in First Grade at Argonaut Elementary in Ms. Tawaratsumida's class. I like gardening, owls, strawberries, spaghetti, and playing tennis. I want the world to be a happy place.

Isabella's Poem Inspiration

Saratoga is my home. Climate change is happening all around us. We must do what we can to keep Saratoga clean and healthy so our plants stay green!

Isabella's Poem

Climate Change

A Haiku by Isabella

Fossil fuels burn red
Let's Protect Saratoga
So our trees stay green.

Anica Ahuja

2nd Place

Anica Ahuja

I am in the first grade. I love nature, animals & bugs. I love going to the beach. I love to learn new things about science. I want to be an animal rescuer when I grow up.  

Anica's Poem Inspiration

Whenever I look at the sky and see the birds flying and the clouds moving, it is a very lovely sight. That inspires me to write.

Anica's Poem

The Sky

I look at the sky as the clouds float by,
I see a butterfly flying by,
I see pretty birds
And I am out of words!

I like to fly a kite
It makes the sky so bright
It is a wonderful sight!

When it rains, slow
When it rains, fast
The sky sprays water on me,
I love the cold air,
I love the drops on me,
It is telling me something...
I will figure out what.
Naina Dhillon

3rd Place

Naina Dhillon

I live in Saratoga with my family - my parents, grandparents and our dog Bow.

My favorite foods are croissants with cream cheese, mac and cheese and fries. My favorite color is all the colors in a rainbow together. At school, I like to play a game called ‘Adventurers' and do flips on the school bus bars. A flip is when you hang upside down and you flip your body over. I love to read, craft, play Ticket to Ride, engineer machines with Lego and swim.

My friends say that I am kind and helpful.  

Naina's Poem Inspiration

I am a very good artist and that is why I chose my art as my poem’s topic. I love to draw because it makes me feel happy, confident and proud of the results. I used to only draw humans as stick figures and then I believed in myself and drew a real person that was not a stick figure!

I thought about what my art represents, how it makes me feel and wrote that as a rhyme for my poem.

Naina's Poem

My Art

My art makes me proud
It makes me feel like I'm sitting on a cloud.
On rainy days
When I feel inspired
I put in all my effort and don't even feel tired.

My art makes me happy
Some days, I close my eyes
My mind wanders in my imagination
I see a rose, myself, love or kindness
It all makes a connection

My art makes me confident
No matter what anyone says
I will not stop
It is true.
My mom and dad will support me too!

Grades 3 - 5 Winners

Jasper Regester

1st Place

Jasper Regester

I’m 9 years old. I am in fourth grade and attend Marshall Lane Elementary. I’m an energetic boy that loves poetry, soccer, clarinet and pizza. I have a big brother named Axel and two playful cats named Buddy and Bella. I’m grateful for my family, friends and to be living in beautiful Saratoga.

Jasper's Poem Inspiration

Hakone Garden is a special place I visit often. Through ups and downs and changing seasons I find inspiration there every time. If you haven’t been there, go visit! You will be inspired too!

Jasper's Poem

Hakone Garden

Sakura blossoms like pink clouds of hope.
Stone steps stretch to valley views.
Koi ponds glittering upon the light.
Pristine waterfall flows like a whisper.
Basking in bamboo that reaches to the sky.
Calm meditation.
A path through nature and time healing your mind.
This is Hakone Garden.

2nd Place

Milan Rangnath

Milan Rangnath is a 5th grader at Saratoga Elementary. He likes to play basketball, watch TV, and spend time with family. 

Milan's Poem Inspiration

I thought it was a nice thing to write a poem about apricot picking. I went apricot picking with my friends and got a lot of apricots.

Milan's Poem

Apricot Picking in Saratoga

I wander in the orchard
of the sweet orange juicy apricot fruit.
I look all around to see the bright trees full of apricots surrounding me.
I turn to my right and see a huge tree sturdy and tall.
Filled to the brim with apricots.
Like a belly after a buffet.
I grab my big white basket and pluck the tree clean.
Then I do it all again.

Julian Zhang

3rd Place

Julian Zhang

Julian Zhang lives with his mom, dad, sister Norah, and cat Lulu. HHe loves reading, and his favorite book series is Harry Potter. He also likes music, drawing and basketball. He likes sing along Imagine Dragons song. Julian goes to a school named Argonaut Elementary School. Go Bears!

Julian's Poem Inspiration

We were studying about seasons in school and about how leaves falling and trees getting bare. I remembered learning Haiku last year so I wrote a poem about leaves. Then to make it longer, I extended it to about spring too.

Julian's Poem

The Whispering Shadows

Winter is coming
Snow falls to the forest floor
It's already here

Tiny scarlet leaf
Clinging to a frozen branch
It's time to let go

Little fallen leaves
Your journey is not over
Now you are a path

Springtime is starting
Grass and leaves grow everywhere
It's starting again

Grades 6 - 8 Winners

Colin Yi

1st Place

Colin Yi

I am a 7th grader at Redwood Middle School. My favorite food is pasta. I like to play chess and enjoy chess tournaments. I want to be a good chess player when I grow up. Recently, I started learning volleyball. Sometimes, I also play video games in my spare time. I go to church every Sunday, where I’ve made a connection with God.

Colin's Poem Inspiration

I decided to write about chess because I am a chess player. I enjoy going to chess tournaments, and my poem shows my passion. I also wrote this poem as if the pieces were soldiers because that is how I see them on the board. When I am calculating, it is as if the pieces come to life, and I am the general. I believe everyone should learn chess.

Colin's Poem


In the kingdom's squares, silent and still,
Stand wooden soldiers, ready to kill.
Bishops bow in cathedral's light,
Knights kneel, ready for the fight.
Rooks stand rigid, guarding the gates,
Pawns march forward, meeting their fates.
The kind stand firm, grand and tall,
The queen sweeps the land, capturing all.

In chess, the battle grows intense,
Guarding pieces adds some suspense.
Knights, rooks, and bishops stand tall,
Answer the king's defensive call.
Pawns form a shield as strong as a king,
While the queen captures everything.
My brave knight delivered checkmate,
In this game of chess, I dominate.


2nd Place

Krithi Boinepalli

I am a 6th grader in Redwood middle school. After school I enjoy doing robotics and gymnastics. In my free time I love to bake, read fantasy fiction and hang out with friends. I hope to become a doctor, either a neurologist or a cardiologist. 

Krithi's Poem Inspiration

The lake in this poem was based on Sanborn Creek (in Saratoga), that I hiked with my family. It is a beautiful creek that I am very fond of. The lake was a metaphor for people.I think in everyone's life many times we feel scared but these things turn out to be much better than we imagined and can even lead to happy and lasting outcomes. The poem encourages us to try new things.

Krithi's Poem

"The Lake"

The old lake hides behind the lush vegetation scared to come out,
maybe it is scared the forest isn't the same, the beautiful flowers wilting, dazzling greens turned to brown and rotting.

Maybe it is scared that the moon has gone and the birds' sweet melodies have disappeared

But if it comes out it will see the world is more beautiful than before, how the bees buzz around the flowers or the brilliant shades of green

The sweet honeysuckle and the soothing lavender will greet it

Maybe it will hear the warm song of the birds or feel the kindness of the moon on its waters.
Sophie Lu

3rd Place

Sophie Lu

In my free time, I enjoy snacking, watching complex Food Theory and Game Theory videos, and drawing. I also like reading books about people isolated in nature, and actions Webtoons.

Sophie's Poem Inspiration

My poem was inspired by a loquat tree I have in my backyard. when I wrote my poem, the flowers were just starting to bud, so I was excited to eat them.

Sophie's Poem

Loquat Tree

I look up towards
My loquat tree
Fruit almost ripe,
Yellow speckled with green,
Almost ready to pick.
They were ripe when I first moved here,
Firm and orange,
The size of my pinkie,
Smelling of sun.
So we ate them in the kitchen,
Pluck, peel, pop, spit.
Wash our sticky hands
Two days later,
They're orange,
ready to pick,
I pluck them off,
peel the skin, pop them in my mouth
Spit out the slimy black seed.
Wash my hands,
Feeling like sun.

Grades 9 -12 Winners

Kara Fan

1st Place

Kara Fan

Kara has always expressed herself creatively, whether that means making oil paintings of her cats or writing poems in her free time. When she is not playing on her varsity volleyball team, she enjoy baking, playing piano, drinking boba tea and crocheting. Kara has always been the artsy member in her family and continues to explore her creative expression through writing.

Kara's Poem Inspiration

My poem was inspired by sacred generational family memories and the hardship that it took to keep these memories. It highlights how my culture brings my family closer together and how resilience can forge a tighter community. My poem illustrates the sense of deep rooted belonging and connecting with family members, friends and even ancestors.

Kara's Poem

From generations back, this art that we know
Is a love entangled and finely sown
In the depths of our union standing against hate
Even in the tireless heat that yields a flame

A flame of candlelight dim sum dinner
We talk in our ancestor's language, a shared delight
Our joyous evening illuminated by moonlight

For this tradition of making dumplings is more than the taste
It is a beauty in our culture that cannot be erased
It is a union that a pandemic tried to tear
But through resilience and support we learn to rise
And fly high in the winds and soar like a dragon

This love in our family you can't even fathom.


2nd Place

Avik Belenje

Avik Belenje lives in Silicon Valley where he has studied poetry for the past three years at Poetry Power, an institute devoted to this ancient art and directed by an award-winning poet. Already, he has received publication nationwide, not only in literary journals for youth, but also in those for adults. He has also received awards and feels proudest of his Silver Key from Scholastic Arts and Writing Regional Awards and his recent record-breaking four First Place Awards from California Federation of Chaparral Poets, Inc., the oldest poetry center in the state. He has, by invitation, read his poetry nationwide, sponsored by Moonstone Arts Center in PA. 

Avik's Poem Inspiration

My former house on gorgeous Pierce Road inspired this poem. I would wander for hours on end, and despite moving down closer to the center of the town, I still trek there whenever I can.

Avik's Poem


From dense woodland in luscious Saratoga Foothills,
A lynx, with its golden eyes, emerges on a hiking path
And leaps to sun himself in peace on a toasty boulder
As hikers pay admiring respects, but from a distance.

Yet a family of California Quail marches on steadfast.
Such birds scarce in the state but not this spellbinding place;
Their circular path winds down around the hillsides
And, eventually, to the hidden grotto where they reside.

Valley oaks, douglas firs, coast redwoods, and more
Serve as safe harbor in this wildwood for whatever life comes their way, 
A wonder of nature thriving with grace,
And serenity in sunlight and moonlight, forever mystical.

3rd Place

Giselle Adams

A ninth grader at Saratoga High School, is an aspiring writer and entrepreneur. She enjoys spending time outdoors, reading about history, and traveling to new places. 

Giselle's Poem Inspiration

When you are young you don’t think much about how you look, your body doesn’t have flaws but uniqueness. However, when you grow older you get social media and people start to hyperanalyze how they look, no matter how pretty or “perfect” they are. My poem isn’t about being completely ugly or completely perfect because I don’t believe that a person can be either one of those things. My poem is about how people trick you into thinking that there is such thing as that, ugliness and perfection, and how this believe impacts how you see yourself. 

Giselle's Poem


I'm sewing a doll
Out of cotton and twine
I prick my fingers on the needles
It is my first time
I lay out the fabric and draw the lines
I sew her eyes, mouth, and face
Her legs, and arms, and funny tight waist
I look down at my doll at her perfect face
I walk to the dollmaker
My eyes wander and drop as I see them all
the dolls the most perfect on the wall
With small noses and lips like roses
With perfect skin and dainty white limbs
I look at my doll with her imperfect cotton skin
Her wonky nose and gangly arms
And I hate hate hate her
I pick at the seams and tear at the cloth
I cry and cry at my ugly ugly doll
I take my silver scissors and cut cut cut
If she's not perfect she can't be at all
Because what is a girl without her perfect perfect doll?

Grand Prize Winner - Best in Show

Ashley Mo

Overall Winner

Ashley Mo

Ashley is a sophomore at the Harker School. Out of all the writing genres, she enjoys poetry and creative writing the most, and her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing awards. In her free time, she enjoys playing golf, listening to music, and hanging out with friends. 

Ashley's Poem Inspiration

I was inspired to write this poem after noticing that some memories are associated with different colors or images. For me, the color auburn brought back moments from my childhood that I hadn't thought about in a long time. Even though something may seem arbitrary and useless to some people, it may mean the world to others, and that's something I wanted to emphasize in my poem.

Ashley's Poem

When you asked me what my favorite word was, I said auburn

Because auburn was the color of my first dog who sniffed my fingers and licked the gaps between my toes;
when my mother locked me outside for two hours,
the wind chilling my bones through a cupcake-covered nightgown, 
he gulped down my tears and let me touch his nose.

Because auburn was the name of my best friend in kindergarten
who painted paper roses with me,
red, blues, purples stained on our fingertips;
she helped me differentiate triangles from trapezoids, 
curled up next to me during nap time
on a star-shaped rug.

Because, most of all, auburn was the roof of my house back in Texas
whose tiles were chipped from hot summer night;
when I left at age seven, sat in a car to California with palms pressed to the cold minivan windowpane
I wondered if I would - or could ever miss a roof more
because under that auburn was all I had ever known.

To me, auburn is color, identity, physicality, home
but to you, a six-letter word.