SAERC student reads award-winning poem at provincial ceremony

By: Catherine Knott

PORT HAWKESBURY: “I think it’s an important issue. An issue that should be talked about… there are so many veterans who are silently suffering from PTSD.”

Fourteen-year-old Sara Pluta is a Grade 9 student at SAERC in Port Hawkesbury and she won first place with her poem “My PTSD” in the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 43 Remembrance Day Contest, then later first place at the provincial level for the Royal Canadian Legion Nova Scotia/Nunavit Command, and finally first place at the national level for the Royal Canadian Legion Dominion Command.

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Her poem earned her many accolades and the opportunity to read her piece aloud at several events, including a recent Remembrance Day ceremony at the Grand Parade in Halifax.

Pluta’s poem highlights Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and was written from the viewpoint of a veteran with the condition. She was inspired to write her piece after watching a television commercial on the subject. She adds since she began presenting her poem, many people have come up to her to share their own stories of friends and family living with PTSD.

“I’m really happy that I have been able to make a change with this poem,” Pluta said. “If it has helped someone to speak up; or helped other people to understand what someone with PTSD is feeling and what they are going through.”

Pluta has been participating in the legion’s Remembrance Day literacy contest since the fifth grade, but when it comes to her future aspirations, she says writing is not necessarily in the forefront.

“I would consider a career in the medical field, or in health care. Working with people who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, I think it’s an option.”

For the time being, Pluta is putting her focus on high school academics and her other interests. She is a volleyball enthusiast and is currently in the middle of a busy basketball season, at SAERC.