Two Youth Earn National Poetry Awards

Students from Oak Creek YCF and Rogue Valley YCF were honored in the Words Unlocked Poetry Contest.

Two Oregon Youth Authority youth recently earned top awards in the national Words Unlocked Poetry Contest, sponsored by the Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings (CEEAS).

Darlene tied for second place for her poem “LABELS,” which she wrote while at Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility in Albany. She was taught by Three Lakes High School teacher Levi Moody.

Alek, who earned third place for his poem “Why,” wrote the piece while at Rogue Valley Youth Correctional Facility. He was taught by New Bridge High School teacher Tracy Linstad.

Words Unlocked is a month-long poetry initiative for students held in juvenile justice facilities nationwide. Alek’s and Darlene’s poems will be included in the Words Unlocked 2018 Chapbook. You can also read them online:

LABELS,” by Darlene
Why,” by Alek

Congratulations to these young poets and their teachers!


  1. These poems are so beautifully written and very inspiring! I hope these youth continue to use their GIFT of writing and expression.

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