In November a teacher encouraged Lawton High School Student Jackson Cuzzort to enter some of his poetry into a local poetry contest sponsored by the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. After several days of rough drafts and intense writing, Jackson presented his work. The local chapter was impressed by Cuzzart's work, declaring his prose and poetry the best in this region, sending it on to their National Organization.

Now, A little over five months after Cuzzort's AP English teacher, Dr. Terry Freeman, convinced the LHS Junior to submit his work for consideration, the national council of the Daughters of The Revolution has declared his work to be the best in the country. Cuzzart credits Dr. Freeman for not only encouraging him to enter his work, but also teaching him how to focus his feelings regarding an American tragedy into his work.

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Cuzzort's entry? A poem about his grandfather's experience in the Vietnam War. The poen, entitled 'Olive Jacket, Size Large', tells the story of the Vietnam War, as seen by a soldier's field jacket. The young poet says the poem came about as a way to channel his feelings on how his grandfather and other veterans were treated upon returning home from the unpopular war. He used his words to honor not only his grandfather's legacy, but also those of other veterans who have been mistreated by not only the American public, but 'the system' in general.

Cuzzort was surprised by his victory, and hopes that his work has helped to shine attention on the plight of Vietnam era veterans, and veterans as a whole. For his efforts, the author received a certificate celebrating his accomplishment.

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Cuzzort used his feelings of disappointment about how his grandfather was treated after returning home from the war and channeled them into motivation for writing his poem. He says he wanted his words to honor not only his grandfather's legacy, but all the Vietnam War veterans who had been forgotten. His grandfather, much like many veterans of the war was left with altering side effects. Memories of his grandfather's plight created the visions the young writer translated into the pictures he translated as the field jacket.

Besides technique, Cuzzart also credits his teacher for encouraging his student to write 'adult poems', exploring well thought out, mature themes. For his part, Dr Freeman applauds Cuzzarts and his other students, happy to see them being recognized on a broader level than just the grade book.

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source: KSWO news