The American Immigration Council is proud to announce the winner of the 20th Annual Celebrate America Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest. This contest encourages educators to incorporate lessons on U.S. immigration into their classrooms and gives fifth graders the opportunity to explain, in their own words, why they are proud America is a nation of immigrants.

This year’s winning poem “Immigration” was written by Lauren Rocke from Havens Elementary School in Piedmont, California. The poem describes the trials many immigrants face upon first entering the United States, from leaving friends to fitting in to the new environment. “Immigration” ultimately celebrates America as a welcoming place for those seeking refuge.

Read Lauren’s winning entry below:


By Lauren Rocke

Northern California Chapter



Everything has changed

Everything happened at once

The war

The plane

Seeing my new home


I didn’t like the change

The change brought uncertainty

I did not want the change

I did not welcome the change

But my family did

If I had a choice

I wouldn’t have gone


We lost everything

Our home



My friends


I hate the people

Who did this to my family

I am lost in this new place


U. S. A.


My new home

Good bye Syria


I never got to say goodbye

So here it is

Goodbye, Friends

Goodbye, Grandmama

Goodbye, Grandpapa

Goodbye, House

Goodbye, Village

Goodbye, Everything I knew

The Perfect Fit

I have not found a fit

In my new life

I do not fit into the puzzle that is my school

I stick out like a piece

From a different puzzle

I do not fit into my new town

I do not fit into America

At least I don’t think so

Mama says, “It will pass, you will make friends.”

Papa says, “Friends will come to you, just wait.”

So I wait

I Wait

I wait for a friend to come

Every day

And then she does


Is from Afghanistan

Is just like me

Is smart

Is funny

Is my friend


I finally fit into the puzzle that is this town

Today they threw a party celebrating

Yara’s family

And mine

We celebrate immigration because without it

None of us would be here

I Will

I will live in America

I have lots of friends

I have a beautiful home

I love America

We celebrate immigration

Photo by Caleb Roenigk