Erika Beursken
Honorable Mention

AwardHonorable Mention

SchoolFirelands High School

CityOberlin, Ohio

TeacherLaura Tawil

InternBrian Capuder


The ballad "Play Hard, Work Hard, Think Hard" is symbolic of the journey that post-stroke patients take during the recovery process. I chose a ballad because I felt a story in song style would best deliver the message I was trying to send. I want my readers to relate to the stroke patient, which is why I chose a firstperson voice. Recovering from a stroke is an everyday, uphill battle. The narrator of my poem wishes to heal and return both their mind and body to the form it was in before their stroke. Their struggle represents an excellent example of perseverance. One which requires courage and strength.