2020 ASL Literary Contest Winners

We couldn’t be more proud of all our students who entered the Gallaudet Youth Programs/Phi Kappa Zeta ASL Literary Competition! Iowa School for the Deaf had first place, second place and honorable mention winners, all featured on this page. This national event is open to second – 12th grade students who are deaf or hard of hearing. The contest is split into written and ASL divisions, with winners in the elementary, middle school and high school age groups.

American Sign Language poetry and English poetry are different. While English poetry might include a discernible meter or rhyme within stanzas, ASL poetry often uses repetitive movements or handshapes. For the national poetry contest, poets were limited to just three handshapes. Handshapes are not signs, but are used to form signs. It is like a letter of the alphabet. A letter is not usually a word by itself, but with other letters, can create many words. Handshapes with different arm and wrist movements, body movements and facial expressions, create many signs.

On to showcase our winners!

Damien Holste of Underwood first won this contest as an 8th grader with his piece, “Impressing the Girl.” This year, he won first place in the high school poetry division with “T-Rex.” T-Rex features a day in the life of a dinosaur, awakening and feeling hungry, and its successful hunt for food- Diplodocus (dinosaur).

Holly Schroeder of Council Bluffs tied for second place with her poem, “Life = Art.” Her work features an artist with creative block, who falls asleep. Wind blows her sketch paper off the table and it goes through the window. In her dream, she travels the flowing river, forests, and the beautiful sky. She is awakened by a paper in her face. Now she is inspired to draw.

Our honorable mention winners at ISD include:

Cristian Lopez Rodriquez of Esterville (middle school written poetry division: “Deaf Boy.”

Kali Nipper of Council Bluffs (high school) for two works, and earned honorable mention for both. She submitted “Pink Flower” for the creative writing category and performed the same title HERE in the storytelling category.

Ashley Schroeder of Kingsley (high school written poetry), “Without a Choice.”

Molly McEvoy of Omaha (high school, presentation category) “Speak Up!”  English translation is HERE.