Press Release - GSSM Student Places First in Young Minds Dreaming Poetry Contest

April 28, 2020

GSSM Student Places First in Young Minds Dreaming Poetry Contest

Hartsville, SC - The South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics (GSSM) junior, Lucia Brown of Richland County, placed first in the 9-12 grade category of the South Carolina State Library’s annual Young Minds Dreaming Poetry Contest.

The annual Young Minds Dreaming Poetry Contest encourages young writers to capture the power of their words and experience the freedom of original literary expressions. Pat Mora was this year's featured poet for the poetry contest. Pat’s book, Bookjoy, Wordjoy, inspired this year's theme for students. Students asked were to write a poem about the joy of words, the joy of reading, or the joy of books.

Lucia shared her poem, “Korralik, inspired by her love for the Estonian language and her experiences with her grandmother over the past few months.


Yesterday, the sky was sixteen

shades of patience, the moon her

calm nurse, spine curved over

still body. In the corner—

yesterday’s New York Times,

quiet. Hair carefully pinned, she

sleeps, tube snaking from her

stomach, the steady drip a tiny

cascade of seconds. Waiting,



*but the bounds of English are not

the bounds of language, she reminds me,

and so I take that word, the one

Estonian word to capture her

entirely un-American expression of

quiet, tidy, perfect put-togetherness

to say instead, when waiting,


when seconds cascade

into hours and even long

hair pinned korralikult back does

not ease the dripping, tomorrow’s

New York Times is there. In the corner,

by your korralik stack of novels and

three pairs of shoes. The sky

is patient, offers last light so

the IV pole, that third leg, squares

with your rainbow clogs,


“In New York City, you can buy the Sunday New York Times on Saturday night. I’ve always loved how the order of the days ends up falling to the paper. My grandmother reads the Times cover to cover every day, and for her, having those extra Sunday sections one day early was always a highlight,” said Lucia Brown, GSSM Junior. “’Korralik’ is more a letter to her about her love for language than it is a poem about mine. For the past few months, she has been fighting through radiation and chemotherapy treatments. I know that stories and language have always been an escape for her, and they are even more so now. Tying my passion for language to her experiences was an opportunity to showcase that shared love and honor her fortitude.

Lucia will be honored at an award ceremony at the South Carolina State Library in Columbia in the fall.


Founded in 1988, the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics is a nationally recognized school serving over four hundred of the state's most accomplished STEM students in the 10th through 12th grades through its residential and virtual programs. GSSM offers college-level courses and experiences in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at its campus in Hartsville. The school also delivers virtual curricula in engineering and STEM disciplines to students in partner school districts throughout the state. GSSM’s dynamic outreach programs, including science summer camps and teacher training, impact over 5,000 K-12 students every year. Learn more by visiting

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