Cervantes, who attends Marina West Elementary School, titled his piece "Fiestas Patrias De 16 Septiembre" and wrote of the evolution of Mexican history, spelling out "Fiestas Patrias" with the first letters of each line.
Damaris Alvarez, a fifth-grader at Harrington Elementary, won second place and $50. Angelica Zamudio and Francia Partida, eighth-graders at Haydock Intermediate School, tied for third place and each won $25.
The contest was sponsored to encourage student pride in Chicano culture and to promote appreciation for poetry as a media for art and expression. Distinguished judges were Luis Leal, a professor of Chicano Studies and a member of the prestigious North American Academy of the Spanish Language, Chicano Studies department chairman Francisco Lomeli and Spanish and Portuguese department chairman Victor Fuentes.