Jordan Torbeck translated her patriotism into poetry and became the state winner in a literary contest honoring Francis Scott Key and "The Star-Spangled Banner."
"I love writing and I do it often, but I usually don't have the courage to show it to anyone but my mom," said Jordan, 12.
Her untitled poem, written "all by myself in about a day," describes the pride she feels about the American flag. The contest was sponsored by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and the Francis Scott Key Foundation.
A sixth-grade student at West Middle School in Westminster, Jordan said she always keeps a writing pad and pen handy at her home near New Windsor.
She said she gets inspirations from nature and often jots down ideas for future literary efforts.
"I keep a diary of what I see outside, and sometimes I tape ideas and get back to them later," she said.
When she was 10, she wrote 30 chapters of a novel "just for fun." Now she prefers poetry to prose, she said.
"Poetry is definitely not as easy, but it's more fun," she said. "Sometimes the words just come. Sometimes my mom helps me with the rhymes."
She wrote her winning verse solo, she said, although she credits her parents, Steve and Sarah Torbeck, with giving her the courage to submit it for consideration to the three-judge state contest panel.
"I am happy with myself," she said. "I guess I got a little of botmy parents. Courage from my dad and poetry from my mom."
Tom Hepler, language arts teacher at West Middle School, alsencouraged Jordan to enter the contest.
"He asked a few of us, but I was the only one to do it," she said. "When I won, he was really glad and he told the rest of the class they should have tried, too."
Jordan will receive a certificate Friday for her poem, which the DAR will place in national competition.
"Your patriotic poem is beautiful and imaginative," wrote Kay Turner, contest chairwoman, in a letter announcing the award. "I like it. I'm glad it won."
Jordan said she plans to continue writing, and may choospoetry or the law for a career.
"If I do become a lawyer, when I am in court I may just speak irhymes," she said.
My flag, my country lovable and free,
My flag up high for all to see,
My country a beautiful land,
8, In which I treasure both water and sand.
My flag is glorious and wondrous,
My country brave and bold
This land is priceless and
These gifts more precious than gold.