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BCSD celebrates poem written by GCH senior Kirsten Franklin

Published on Monday, Jan. 9, 2022

cassandra cowdrey, katy batkins, kristen franklin, chelsey bradley sweatman, franklin and westergaard
BCSD photos / Monica Kreber


Berkeley County School District is working on a new way to highlight its students’ artistic talents.

This is the inaugural year of The BCSD Anthology, and it is a collaboration among the district’s English/language arts, social studies, and visual arts coordinators to celebrate the arts, and provide an avenue for students to share their work with a larger audience.

During the fall semester, BCSD students in middle and high school were given the theme “Heroes and Heroines” and could submit work in different categories: literary, historical, visual arts and musical lyrics. This semester’s theme for The BCSD Anthology is “Discovery and Encounter.” Click HERE for Student Anthology Submission Form or HERE for the flyer.   

The overall winner of the Fall Anthology is Kirsten Franklin, a senior at Goose Creek High who is an active creative writing student in the Berkeley Center for the Arts. Franklin wrote a poem entitled “books with spines that don’t crack” (see poem below). The poem reflects Franklin’s love for books.

BCSD’s 6-12 ELA/English Coordinator Chelsey Bradley, Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator Cassandra Cowdrey and Social Studies and Science Coordinator Katy Bates Batkins visited Goose Creek High on Thursday afternoon to present Franklin with a certificate and a small collection of books in honor of being selected for the anthology.

Bradley said the Office of Academics and Innovation hopes to have two publications a year, one for each semester. This semester coordinators hope to have even more student submissions and select a work from each category of music lyrics, literary, visual and historical.

Franklin is currently enrolled in Tamara Sweatman’s creative writing class but wrote the poem last semester in Kimberly Westergaard’s class; Westergaard swung by Sweatman's class to watch Franklin be recognized. District coordinators surprised Franklin shortly after she arrived at Sweatman’s class last Thursday afternoon. In lieu of clapping, Franklin’s classmates supported her with finger snaps, the signature way of applauding poets.

Franklin is the daughter of Melinda and Chad Franklin. After she graduates, Franklin hopes to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design and pursue photography. She enjoys writing poetry and aims to publish a book of her work at the end of the school year as part of her senior thesis.

Franklin doted on Westergaard and Sweatman’s ongoing support and guidance.

“I really appreciate them for helping me, throughout the many years of high school, to grow in my writing” she said.


books with spines that don’t crack
by Kristen Franklin


somedays i wish i could escape into the books i read

become the detective who solves the mystery

the witch who falls in love with a god

the main character of a heroic story

strong enough to save them all


the one that everyone falls for

and maybe even the one that dies in the end

leaving a lasting impact with their legacy

who changes the way people think

simply by their actions and words


somedays i wish i could be the author of these stories

seeds of inspiration

planted in the hearts of readers

someone’s motivation for a future

the starting sentence of another's story

the turning point in someone's life

someone's reason to stick around 

to hear the ending of the story

in which that case 

there will be no ending

so their story won’t end with mine


Description by Student: "This poem is a bit inspired by a word board on my bookcase that says, "Reading is my escape to a better world." Not every book I read is always better than life in the real world. But they always make me question if I'm really doing what I want to do with my life, especially with college around the corner. A lot of times, my comfort books have been my sort of heroes. Being able to reread something that either brings me joy or just makes me happy that I could read it within a day even if it isn't the happiest of stories."

cowdrey and franklin