"I'm pretty excited — it's pretty big for me," Lindsay Kenney said about having her poem "Happy Place" chosen to be included in a collection of poetry featuring students from across the country.

Lindsay, 11, is the daughter of Laurie Kenney and Luke Kenney, both of Waldo.

A sixth-grade student at Mount View Middle School in Thorndike, Lindsay said she has not always been interested in poems, but a poster in her English classroom about the poetry contest caught her eye and started her thinking about submitting a poem.

"I wasn't always big on poetry, but I love to write stories and I like to write about a lot of things all at once," she said. "I read a lot of books at once; it's kind of confusing but I get some of my ideas for writing from the books I read."

She ended up writing several poems to submit because she did not think she would be able to choose one.

"I was being a lunatic about it," she said.

Her English teacher, Liz Dyer, encouraged her to enter "Happy Place" for the contest. Lindsay received a letter Dec. 18 telling her that her poem would be included in the 2019 poetry collection.

The poetry book, "2019 Rising Stars Collection" from Appelley Publishing, showcases the work of young authors from across the United States.

According to the Appelley website, the company reviews all submissions and narrows the field down to a top 10. On April 5, winners will be announced in each of three divisions: grades 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.

Each winner will receive $500 and 25 students will be drawn at random for cash prizes ranging from $25 to $150.

Participating teachers who submit their students' work are also eligible for one of three $500 “Teacher’s Bonus” awards based on the number of submissions made. The school with the most submissions will win a new computer.

Lindsay said her poem was inspired by a couple of different things.

For an English class assignment, her class went outside with their laptops, "and we just sat and wrote about what we were seeing outside and what we heard, and there was a big field." A portion of her poem reads:

I am standing on a hilltop, gazing at the beautiful sunrise in front of me, and a strong breeze is wrapping itself around me, tighter, and tighter…

…I sit down, and relax, letting my worries drift away with the wind. All of the things I always doubted, I wasn't afraid anymore…

At Mount View, Lindsay is part of the school's newspaper club; she said her topics are "mostly fantasy and fiction."

When speaking about her future, she confessed, "I have absolutely no idea what I want to do." She said she used to want to be a veterinarian. "I really like animals; then I was into baking, then writing and many different things," she said.

As for having her poem published, Lindsay said, "It feels pretty good and I'm very excited. It took me a little bit to accept the fact that more than my family is going to see this, but that a lot of people are going to see this. It will still be great to see my name and my poem in there."

Her parents both said they are extremely proud of their daughter.