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NECC Prepares for Annual Peace Poetry Contest

Submitted by on February 13, 2014 – 5:06 pm

What started as one veteran’s commitment to peace has evolved into an annual Peace Poetry Contest at Northern Essex Community College that attracts hundreds and hundreds of peace-focused poems from school children in the Merrimack Valley and beyond.

NECC Professor of English Dr. Paul G. Saint-Amand, is a Vietnam-era veteran who is committed to peace. The Gloucester resident never imagined, but surely hoped, the event would morph into the contest it has become, when he introduced to the college six years ago.

Students in grades kindergarten through 12, both from public and private schools, as well as adults affiliated with the schools, and NECC students, are invited to participate in Northern Essex’s Sixth Annual Peace Poetry Contest and Reading. Participants may create and submit original poems on the subject of peace.

The deadline for submission is Friday, March 15, 2014. Some 80 poems and accompanying artwork will be selected for publication in a small book of poetry to be published later in the spring. In addition, selected entrants will be invited to take part in a poetry reading from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 2, in the Hartleb Technology Center on Northern Essex’s Haverhill Campus, 100 Elliott St.

Last year’s contest, the fifth annual, attracted more than 1000 entries from more than 48 schools. The contest is coordinated by Saint-Amand who has been teaching at the college for seven years and has made it his personal mission to promote peace.

“As an educator, I want to fuel children’s imaginations toward peace,” he says. “A lot more has been written about war than about peace.”

NECC students are collaborating on the project and have designed posters and award certificates, participated in judging entries, and will host the public reading. Entries can be submitted to or NECC Peace Poetry Contest, 100 Elliott St., Spurk 317H, Haverhill, MA 01830-2399.

For additional information contact Dr. Paul Saint-Amand at 978-556-3307, or visit the Peace Poetry webpage.

This contest is sponsored by the NECC Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, the English Department, and the Service Learning Committee.