Winners of the National Chemistry Week Illustrated Poem Contest 2014

The Sacramento Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) is proud to announce the winners of its 2014 Illustrated Poem Contest, part of the celebration for National Chemistry Week (NCW). The theme for this year’s contest was “The Sweet Side of Chemistry: Candy”.

Grades 9-12:  First Place:  Poet: Mahakdeep Kaur, grade 11 School or Sponsoring Group: Inderkum High School Teacher: Mrs. Townsend

Grades 9-12 First Place: Mahakdeep Kaur grade 11 Inderkum High School

First celebrated in 1987, NCW always includes October 23, known by chemists as “Mole Day”. A “mole” of atoms in chemistry is 6.02×1023 atoms, so 10/23 is known as “Mole Day”.]

There were four age categories: grades K-2, grades 3-5, grades 6-8, and grades 9-12. Each age category had first prize ($50), second prize ($35), and third prize ($15). The winners of this year’s local competition will be entered in the ACS National Competition in which first prize is $300.

Grades 6-8 First Place:  Madison Rutherford, grade 6 Birch Lane Elementary

Grades 6-8 First Place: Madison Rutherford grade 6 Birch Lane Elementary

This is the first time that the Sacramento Section has participated in the Illustrated Poem Contest in recent memory. The contest was advertised to all local section members through Facebook and the Sacramento Section newsletter. Members of the Executive Committee of the local section also contacted local teachers.

Illustrated poems were judged for artistic merit by Robyn Waxman, Professor of Graphic Communication at Sacramento City College and an award-winning designer, and for poetic merit by Alex Russell, a member of the Board of Directors for the Sacramento Poetry Center and founder of the Real Poets Writing Project.

Grades 3-5 First Place: Frances Thayer grade 5 Birch Lane Elementary

Grades 3-5 First Place: Frances Thayer
grade 5 Birch Lane Elementary

“It was incredibly difficult to pick winners in each [age] category,” noted Russell. “I found the strongest poems crystallized a greater sense of ‘candy’. They transcended the chemistry required to produce something that might otherwise be considered a simple pleasure.”

For more information about this contest or the other activities of the Sacramento Section of the ACS please contact Bill Miller at

What follows below is a list of the winners in each category with their grades, schools, teachers, and illustrated poems. Unfortunately, there were no entries in the K-2 category.

By Bill Miller


Author: Bill Miller

Bill Miller is a Councilor of the Sacramento Section of the ACS. He also teaches chemistry at Sacramento City College.

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