The unofficial “Published Poets Society” at Travis Middle School recently tripled in size, growing from a one-woman club to a trio of authors. This summer, two rising seventh graders, Alexa Perez and Anssony Torres, received news that their poems were selected out of hundreds submitted to be published by the American Library of Poetry.

Their teacher, Pia Pulido, couldn’t be more proud. A published author herself, she is familiar with the pride that comes with seeing your name in print. Pulido, too, became a published author in the seventh grade when she submitted a piece of expository writing to be published in the back of an Archie comic book.

She was hooked immediately and has since dedicated her teaching career to sharing her love of reading and writing with students. 

“This is the first time in my 17 years of teaching that my students have also become published,” says Pulido. “I always tell my students that you don’t know, submit your work and see if you can get published.”

Perez and Torres did just that. Although both of them say they are actually better at math, they each composed their now-published poems in less than a week. For Perez, writing “The Starry Night” came naturally.

“When I get inspired, I really like [writing] because once you start, ideas keep coming,” says Perez. “You keep writing and it just keeps going.”

Similarly, Torres’s poem poured out of him.

“I called it ‘Dark’ because it’s about nighttime,” says Torres. “It’s for people who are sad, and when they see brightness they feel happy again.”

Taking a leap of faith, they both submitted their poems to the American Library of Poetry and received the news of their success over the summer.

“I was really excited,” says Perez. “I was at my cousin’s house, and my mom sent me a photo of the card, and I was so excited. I was bragging to everyone. It was so exciting … They were proud.”

Pulido is thrilled by their success and overjoyed to see how literacy is positively impacting the lives of her students like it has hers. 

“I share with my students that despite obstacles you can overcome them, and will have an edge if you have literacy by your side,” says Pulido.