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Updated: 03/07/2013 08:01:48AM

Bartow woman wins first place in poetry contest

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Christine Roslow

Misty Roper


Students from Stephens Elementary show their math toolkits. In the front row, from left, is Devan Patel, Brenda Meza, Jonathan Joseph, Katelyn Meeks, Bree Lawhead, Eduardo Trejo-Lopez. Back row, from left, Andres Castro, Yenifer Ortiz, Lizbeth Marin, David Marin, Oscar Marin, Adriana Trejo-Lopez and principal April Sumner.

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Misty Roper is a busy woman. She attends school at Polk State College, works full time at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and now she has become the first Polk State College student to win first place in the 2013 Florida Collegiate Honors Council Writing Contest.

She won in late February at the Florida Collegiate Honors Council Conference in Fort Lauderdale, topping competing poets from Honors Programs at colleges and universities across the state.

“Hearing my name called as the winner was overwhelming,” said Roper, 35, a Bartow resident. “It was an honor just to place, but to win first place — that’s big.”

District Dean of Academic & Student Services Patricia Jones said Roper’s was impressive with as busy as she is.

“In addition to working full time, and pursuing a degree to reach her future career goals, she dedicates her time and energy to her passion — poetry. She’s a wonderful example of the students at Polk State, who are hard-working, determined, and won’t let anything stand between them and their goals.”

Roper’s winning poem — “Semele” — is a perfect example of the complexity of her work.

It’s about the Greek god Zeus and an affair he had with Semele, a priestess and his great-granddaughter. Zeus inadvertently kills Semele, but takes from her body his child, who will be named Dionysus, the god of revelry and alcohol. The title is pronounced just like “simile,” a figure of speech that compares two unlike things — hints at deeper meanings.

Here is her winning poem, “Semele,” follows:


Every time the eyes turn away

I cease to exist —

Dying a numbered death

Roaming in solitary, spectral form

The evidence of my existence foregone.

A returning glance won’t bring my resurrection...

Hovering bee-like around you,

Minimally acknowledged

This distant yeast mouth

Expands and swallows me.

In the absence of the buzzing wings

The mead waits for Dionysus

To be reborn.

Stephens, IB combine on Heritage Night

James E. Stephens Elementary partnered with students from the Bartow High International Baccalaureate to provide a Spanish Heritage Night for non-English speaking parents.

As part of their foreign language course, the IB students developed the idea to raise funds to purchase Spanish/English dictionaries under the Projecto Diccionario program. Once funding was secured they purchased the dictionaries to give to each family present at parent night.

In addition to obtaining the dictionaries, the students created Math Tool Kits to give to each participating family. They contained educational games that parents can play at home to improve student achievement.

The written directions for the games were provided to the parents in their native language.

At parent night, IB students delivered the program to the parents in Spanish, providing tips and strategies that parents can use at home to work with their children.

The parents and students had so much fun at the Spanish Heritage Night they asked for the IB students to come back and do more programs.

Christine Roslow can be reached at

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