Madison Vines accepts her award for her first place winning poem in the PRT Poetry contest. (From left: Cassina Farley, PCAA Director, Madison Vines, PRT Board President Jac Heiss. Photo by Marion Vendituoli

The Patagonia Regional Times 2021 Poetry Contest, in collaboration with the Patagonia Public Library and the Patagonia Creative Arts Association, awarded prizes to eight local students. Local middle school and high school students were asked to write a poem inspired by the poetry of U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, whose work has been the focus of NEA sponsored Big Read programs in Patagonia. 101 poems were submitted to the contest from Patagonia Middle and High Schools, Elgin Elementary, Patagonia Montessori, Little Red School, and home schooled students. Look for more student poems in upcoming issues of the PRT. 

PRT Poetry Contest Winners

High School

First (Tie): 

Sydney McKay “Green” (PUHS)

Madison Vines “Roots Are Always Planted” (PUHS)


Nicholas Mentone “Dear Mama” (PUHS)

Honorable Mention:

Ivan Carranza “Honoring Tata” (PUHS)

Middle School


Omar Chacon “Arizona’s Beauty” (Little Red)


Corinne Benevich “Let There Be No Regret” (Patagonia Middle)

Honorable Mention:

Wenzi Hirata “The Hungry Coyote” (Little Red)

Gavin Arbizo “The River” (Patagonia Middle)

High School First Place (tie)


by Sydney McKay, Patagonia Union High School, Grade 12

Green like the hedges of home,

Green, like the reflections of the greenhouse panels,

Green, like the beautiful, winding vines, that trail up and down trees

Green, one amongst her favorite colors.

Green, deeply embedded, braided in her eyes,

Green, the color of her plant stained thumbs,

Green, always encouraging growth of the garden, of us,

Green, braided in my hair, and saturating my eyes,

Green, my favorite color, because to me,

She is green.

She, keeping things green when they should be withered away

She, my definition of natural beauty.


My green thumbed mama

High School First Place (tie)

Roots Are Always Planted

by Madison Vines, Patagonia Union High School, Grade 12

Some fight and win 

Some fight and lose

The story’s still the same 

Some people are known 

Some people are shadows

Still people know their name 

Leaving their homes 

Leaving their families

But never far away 

Leaving the past 

Leaving too soon

But never here to stay 

No one is ever ready 

No one is ever prepared

Don’t take time for granted 

No one wants to say goodbye 

No one wants to die

But roots are always planted 

Middle School – First Place

Arizona’s Beauty

by Omar Chacon, Little Red School, Grade 8

From the sunny days to the cloudy nights

Her beauty is vast and wide

From blazing weather were the sun’s rays burns

To winter nights with the snows soft touch

From the forests to the deserts

The rivers and canyons that stretch

Below the golden sky and blue moon

To Saguaro that are old and wise

And the Pines whos needles are forever green

The rattles of the snakes who hunt for prey

And the coyotes coat of grey

All day and night, the deer play

Most of all her treasures

The rivers which peacefully twist and turn

Which echoes of her waters through the valleys

And whispers into the desert life

To ease upon the blooming flowers

To which we are honored to conserve

So that generations to come will

Enjoy her beauty as we do