Cotter Cup

2021 Cotter Cup Storytelling Contest

Joseph Cotter with the Cotter Cup and contestants

It has been said that one of renowned educator and poet Joseph Cotter’s “greatest and most memorable gifts to the city of Louisville” was the founding of an annual storytelling contest at the Western Library in 1913. The Storytelling Contest was a way to encourage young children to read and learn through the art of storytelling. And the winners had their names engraved onto the ‘Cotter Cup.’ Well Western Library is bringing the Cotter Cup back!

Congratulations to all the young writers who participated in the 2021 Cotter Cup Storytelling Contest.

The 1st Place Winners are:

Elementary School

Sufyan White – A Gem of Nature

I hike on the mountain, a gem of nature.
I take a breath; I feel the air.
Rushing like a cheetah through my hair.

I hike on the mountain, a gem of nature.
I see the gushing river.
Its rapids and power make me shiver.

I hike on the mountain, a gem of nature.
I suddenly hear a growl.
I look behind me, and I see him prowl.

I hike on the mountain, a gem of nature.
The bear, the mountain, and I. We three,
Are all that anyone in this vast wilderness can see.

I hike on the mountain, a gem of nature.
My inside screams at me to run.
But one slight movement, and I will be done.

I hike on the mountain, a gem of nature.
His fur is black.
I know better than to turn my back.

I hike on the mountain, a gem of nature.
I am surprised I have not seen his tracks.
I have no doubt he is as dangerous as an axe.

I hike on the mountain, a gem of nature.
I face the bear.
The animal that gives many a scare.

I hike on the mountain, a gem of nature.
As pale as a ghost, I worry about my safety.
But I remain calm and unhasty.

I hike on the mountain, a gem of nature.
I stare at the bear’s eyes, pools of fear.
A pearl drops from his eye. Is it a tear?

I hike on the mountain, a gem of nature.
I glance at something creeping in the shrub.
It is a cute and tiny bear cub.

I hike on the mountain, a gem of nature.
I realize the bear fears for his little one.
Does he think I may hunt it for fun?

I hike on the mountain, a gem of nature.
I wonder if he believes I am his little one’s doom.
Does he think I am sending it to its tomb?

I hike on the mountain, a gem of nature.
Once again, I look at the bear. Understanding replaces fear.
And he knows that I do not want to harm those he holds dear.

I hike on the mountain, a gem of nature.
Here in the heart of the gem.
The bear and cub did not harm me, and I did not harm them.

I hike on the mountain, a gem of nature.
I look back at the bear, now I see.
That I am the bear, and the bear is me.

Middle School

(Tie) Catherine Vesper Lammers – The Beauty of Creation

In loving memory of John Potts II

Thank you God for the food we eat,
That comes from the golden fields so sweet.

You gave us the sun that makes them grow,
Giving the farmers hope when they sow.

You made sunsets, so purple and pink,
Of your great love, they make us think.

This same Sun, bright and clear,
Is one of the foundations of life, so dear.

Thank you for the water, pristine and clean,
From a shining sea to a bubbling stream.

All of these things we are grateful for,
God’s creation and so much more.

(Tie) Makalah Montgomery – Never Coming Back

Even though I barely knew you
every time I see your picture
something inside me starts to turn.

It makes me sad you're not coming back
but you are in a better place
up there in heaven where everything is better.

Even though your family misses you
and a lot of tears were shed
and even though you're not coming back
you're always here with us.

We loved you very much
and didn't want you to leave.

You will always be in our hearts and minds.
You will never be far away.

High School

Gladis Tshiala – The Life that Lives

As I stand here among America.
I stand here for whatever cause we can do.
The hate-less bond between Brotherhood,
Our relation is unlike no other
As WE blacks confessed that we are proud, of course PROUD to be Black!
We've come through knowing the history, the past.
Pain slips over the tip top of our cross
As our family members see a fear to cause,
1. Fear of getting fired because we don’t fit in white culture norms
2. Fear of Police Murder
3. Fear of not having a job
4. Fear of being pulled over by a police officer at no cause
5. Fear of being accused of shoplifting whether we are shopping or not.
6. The complex when I go to a certain place that brings a stranger asking, “where are you coming from”?
Is This What We Call AMERICA!
Why cry whether to say, “ Not my baby” or “ Not my Life,”
For Death cannot lie.
Each day we carry a burden at the hand of racism,
Each day we Ask God “is this Virtue or is this selfish” ?
Being Pro-Black doesn’t equate to being Anti-White
As a young woman or man, we are all so young, so gifted, filled with gratitude, raised with confidence and we come with a fierce heart.
Death is not an end nor a final holding word, Death has no power but created a shield to hold us not apart,
A VOICE That can be heard may be silenced but will wait long enough until we realize the strength that comes in those words.
Fear is a word that comes to my mind.
We see it, we Face it, sometimes we become it,
but what overcomes it is love.
I wear Black because it’s who I am. I'm not going to change it because someone makes me, Life may not be perfect but being who you are and What you are is just enough.

 

The 2021 Cotter Cup Storytelling Contest was open to Louisville students, grades K-12, and focused on storytelling through poetry. University of Louisville Writing Center staff worked with students to help complete their poem.

 

In Partnership with:

University of Louisville Writing Lab


Last Updated: 3/8/21