Dominican Junior Madison Ferguson Among March National Poetry Contest Winners

St. Mary’s Dominican High School junior Madison Ferguson was among the winners of the National English Honor Society (NEHS) sponsored March Poetry Challenge based on the theme, “Coming of Age.” Students and advisors from around the country submitted entries. Ferguson loves to read and write. When she is not nose-deep in a book, she can be found watching Netflix or jamming out to music with friends. She aspires to travel the world and one day hopes to study abroad.

The Room

By Madison Ferguson

I can’t remember when it started, this nightmare-ish recurring dream It always begins the same way, the same house, same fear, same thundering sky outside It always pulls me in; this force, this desire that encourages me to explore My palms start to sweat, my head feels dizzy as I enter the room Warm and welcoming, clean and neat, this place is not as it seems I know what to do and I know what I’ll see, but I can’t stop the force pulling me

The windows, which display intimate, vulnerable scenes of my life, fill the room The first window captures my attention, forces me to watch a toddler who looks just like me She has bright eyes, curious precociousness, and a joyful smile; she loves to dream Up movie scenes, and her future, and her life; she is not afraid to explore Her one fatal flaw, she still believes everything is as it seems She detects no disparity between what is in and outside

Next I drift to the window filled with current images of me, Trapped by her own mind, smothered by others’ expectations, she can’t bear going outside She longs to fly, to soar, to wander, to explore Herself and her world, new places, and new people, but this is still just a dream For love, for fear, for doubt, for despair, her heart has no more room Her smile, her laugh, her happiness, its fake; she is not who she seems

Trembling, I close my eyes; oh, if I wasn’t trapped in this horrible room I’m compelled to approach yet another window; a smile escapes from me She’s in a lovely little town abroad, everyone knows everyone by name; she’s begun to explore The world and herself too; she does what she loves and says what she means, she no longer dreams Of the life she wants because she is already living it; she’s the same on the inside and outside She is who she is unapologetically; she is bold, relentless, fearless; everything is as it seems

Is this what’s in store for me? Will I become her? Is this all just a dream? My head buzzes with thoughts as I turn to face my final destination; a silver-haired woman looks at me She has lived her life, and loved it too; she loved so hard it hurt, she has explored Every square inch of the big wide world and she has turned her heart outside Of herself; she takes care of her family, her children, her grandchildren; it almost seems As if she is glowing with love, with joy, with life; she turns to face me, her smile could light up a room

She says in a voice sweet and soft, “Trust me, I know life seems scary from the outside; Enjoy your life and do what you love; never abandon those lofty dreams and never stop exploring; There is always more to see, to know, to love; your heart has so much more room than it seems”


The NEHS, founded and sponsored by Sigma Tau Delta, is the only international organization exclusively for high school students and faculty who, in the field of English, merit special note for past and current accomplishments. Members of Dominican’s Veritas Chapter of the NEHS must have a 3.75 average in English and a 3.5 GPA. Dominican’s moderators are Charlene Ford and Kristin Thomas.

NEHS began a “poetry challenge” creative writing project to encourage and promote more writing. All NEHS members, students and advisors, are encouraged to submit poems from October through April of the current school year. Each month, members of the NEHS Advisory Council and Central Office personnel read and select the best of the entries. The best submissions are published through its social media outlets and collected in an online poetry journal. In May, two “poets of the year,” one from student members and one from NEHS Advisors, will be selected from the monthly winners; those two poets will each receive a $150 award and a certificate of achievement as accomplished NEHS Poets.