Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Ferries’ haiku contest inspires young poets

By Justin Fujioka

We didn’t expect a Twitter contest to turn into an educational tool. But on San Juan Island, our haiku contest did just that. And it’s getting high school students excited about poetry.

In early 2018, our ferries communications team was looking for clever ways to boost awareness of their Twitter account. The decision? A fun, free and engaging haiku contest to engage and hopefully increase followers. None of us imagined the idea would make its way into the classroom.

How it worked

We solicited haiku entries on the ferries’ Twitter account the first week of March. We were happy to receive 176 submissions, which were narrowed to 35 semifinalists by a panel of employees. As we did in 2018, we sent those to Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna, who narrowed it to three finalists. Followers of our ferries’ Twitter account then voted on the finalists to pick the winner.
Siri Lindstrum (right) won this year’s ferries’ haiku contest, a year after her school’s librarian,
Lisa Salisbury (left) won the same contest.

The winning submission will be featured on the cover of our Summer 2019 ferries sailing schedule.

Keeping it in the Friday Harbor family

As soon as this year’s winner, Siri Lindstrom, told me she’s a student at Friday Harbor High School, it put a big smile on my face. I knew last year’s winner, Lisa Salisbury – a staff librarian at the school – had a hand in it. I had to find out more.
“Ms. Salisbury advertised it to our school, and our English teachers promoted it as well,” Siri said. “So I thought ‘why not?’ I really love poetry.”
After winning our 2018 ferries’ haiku contest, Friday Harbor High School librarian Lisa Salisbury (right) encouraged her students to enter in 2019. One who did, Siri Lindstrum (left) ended up winning the contest.

Salisbury said faculty members gave students a brief haiku intro the week prior to the contest along with basics on safely and responsibly navigating Twitter. Students at the school have been working away on poetry for some time now.

It’s not a big surprise that Lindstrom won. Not only is she a library aid this semester, she created a poetry website in January.

“It is a fun story how it has all unfolded, and the support from her fellow students has been wonderful,” Salisbury said. “Teenagers getting excited about poetry… this is awesome!!”