By Steve Sears
For two Denville children, a contest entered in a different grade and school in the old, challenging year of 2020 has delivered great news in 2021.
Farhan and Samarah Hyder, sixth-grade twins, recently had a poem each chosen as a finalist in a national contest. Their poems were chosen out of 600 entries, and will be published in a book titled, Once Upon a Dream 2020 – Poetry Stars. The contest and book are offered by Young Writers, a 1991-established publishing firm located in Massachusetts, which takes pride in encouraging youngsters to creatively write, and especially to read, write, and enjoy poetry. Their website is youngwritersusa.com.
Both Farhan and Samarah were given the project and learned of the contest from their teacher when fifth graders attending Parsippany’s St. Elizabeth Montessori School. Both now attend Valleyview Middle School in Denville.
After being notified by their dad that they were finalists, both were extremely happy. After receiving a certificate, their names will potentially be entered in a raffle to win other prizes.
Samarah’s entry, “Have You Ever Had a Nightmare?”, was created when her teacher instructed the class to write something about dreams or nightmares. “I decided to make mine about both,” she says. “So, I just thought of what dreams and nightmares are about, and then I just wrote a poem about it.”
Her brother, whose poem is titled “All the Places I Want to Be,” dedicated his poem to his late uncle. “I decided to write this because our teacher gave us this project in fifth grade. I decided to write this because I thought of my uncle when I started writing this poem. He passed away.”
“My brother-in-law,” says Ebrahim, explaining the genesis of Farhan’s poem. “He was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. My son fondly remembers him because he taught him how to ‘drive.’ He had a little truck, and he taught him how to drive stick shift. Those are the fun memories that he (Farhan) holds dearly.”
“It was a surprise to us because we didn’t know that they, firstly, wrote these poems, and secondly, that the teacher submitted them for this contest,” says the proud dad, when asked how he and his wife, Shanaaz, felt when learning of their accomplishment. “So, firstly we were very surprised, and secondly, when I read through the poems, it just makes my heart smile. The amount of emotion and depth that went into the writing, and the amount of foresight, there’s an underlying sense of childhood innocence that comes through in the writing that adults may never consider writing or putting down on paper.”
For Farhan and Samarah, this was their first time entering a writing competition. And although at present neither is working on any writing, in the past they had written poems, all the while sharpening their poetical writing skills for last year’s entry.
Per Ebrahim Hyder, due to lockdown and COVID19, it was hard to celebrate and make a big deal over Farhan’s and Samarah’s accomplishment. “But inside, we’re very proud.”