Jessyca Patterson and mom

Jessyca Patterson, right, poses with her mother Sandra Robertson. Patterson wrote a poem that is being published in an anthology of artwork from students across the state. (Ben Farniok/Le Sueur News-Herald)

When Jessyca Patterson found out her poetry was going to be published, she said she was shocked.

The Le Sueur-Henderson High School sophomore wrote a poem in her English class the year before, and hadn’t thought much of it.

But her teacher had read the piece and passed it off to the COMPAS organization. COMPAS then selected her piece to appear in an anthology of about 50 art pieces chosen from over 4,000 pieces of art created over the course of the school year.

The COMPAS Creative Classroom program sends artists from around the state to schools to work with students and help to select the art that is submitted for the anthology selection.

The piece, titled “I am” deals with dark feelings, but ends on a hopeful note.

Patterson said she wrote the piece when she was moving from living in her mother’s house to her father’s, which was a source of some of the feelings that she expressed in the poem.

The poem is nowhere near a first attempt; Patterson said she enjoys writing poems because it helps her to express her feelings.

“I feel like I always write things that I mean,” she said

That honesty of emotion was something that stuck out to spoken word poet Adam Gabriel Rangel, better known by his performance name SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE. He said one of his main goals when working with students is put them in a place where they are able to be honest with themselves and then be able to step up and deliver their work verbally.

“We were blown away by how raw it was, and how honest it was,” he said.

Juliana Wilkins, director of External Relations for COMPAS said the program has been making the annual anthology called “A Bird That Swims and Flies” for 36 years. Each year, students from high school all the way down to kindergartners submit artwork that is selected for the anthology, and COMPAS hosts a celebration featuring the art, this year set for Dec. 10.

One benefit of the COMPAS program is that it allows students, especially in rural communities, to meet people who use art in their day-to-day life when they might not be have the opportunity otherwise.

“We get a lot of adults that come back to us and say, ‘This was the first time I really thought that I could be a journalist or I could be an author or this is something that I have a talent in was when I was working with one of these artists,’” she said.

At LS-H, Patterson said she wished there were a greater emphasis on poetry in her classes.

Patterson said she was excited by the news that her art was going to be included in the anthology, even though she had not expected it.

Sandra Robertson, Patterson’s mother, said she was not shocked that her daughter had been selected, because she had always shown an affinity for writing poetry. Sandra Robertson said her daughter would often read the poems that Robertson had written.

Robertson, too, had been published in a student poetry anthology when she was in junior high school in Minneapolis.

“I wasn’t shocked, but I am very proud. She’s done great and I love reading the stuff that I’ve seen,” Robertson said.

Reporter Ben Farniok can be reached at 507-931-8576 or follow him on Twiter @LNHben.

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