Rodenbeck: on the write path


Izzy Honey, Review Staff

Feature Photo By: Izzy Honey – Connor Rodenbeck reads out loud at a Speech and Debate club meeting. This year is Rodenbeck’s first year as the speech captain.

Speech Captain of the Speech and Debate Club, Student Body Officer, and now a published poet. That’s right, many say that Connor Rodenbeck, Rangeview junior, is continuously showing off his talent and standing out as a successful young student.

This year is Rodenbeck’s first year as the Speech Captain. He is doing a great job, according to Anna Gebhart, a Rangeview English teacher and the sponsor of the club. Last year, the members of the club voted and Rodenbeck won by a landslide.

At Speech and Debate tournaments, Rodenbeck typically performs his original work in the slam poetry category. At the last tournament on December 16th, he came in third overall with his poem.

“I’d say his strength is definitely slam poetry. He has been writing poetry for as long as I’ve known him, and I knew him as a freshman. It’s awesome to finally get to see him perform his pieces because he’s really bringing them to life,” says Gebhart.

In  December of 2016, one of Rodenbeck’s poems was published in a book containing poems from high school students across the nation. The book is called “A Celebration of Poets Summer 2016” and the poems were chosen through a contest posted by Creative Communications.

“I had been looking for poetry contests for a while and stumbled upon [Creative Communications]. I went on their website and submitted a poem”, said Rodenbeck.

Below is the poem that Rodenbeck chose to submit to the contest.

“The poem is all about changing. [It’s] about finding a new beginning and letting the past be the past,” explained Rodenbeck. “I chose the poem because it was one that was very dear to me. It has a deep meaning to me and that’s what makes it beautiful in my opinion.”



My confused soul once a vagabond

Never seeking a philosophical axiom

My unknown truth never being spawned

An echo of disaster decaying my bones’ calcium

My indecisiveness was my inevitable extinction

But I am not dead, only existing

My falsified anger is a simple contradiction

Now I look for a new beginning

My heart has beat swiftly but also not at all

Today only electricity rushes through my veins

My weakness was love’s temporary fall

I have broken out of the past’s chains

My life was a burning book of nonexistent glory

Now the ashes of a modernistic genesis story.


When Rodenbeck received the news that his poem was one of those selected, he was ecstatic and shocked.

“I finally felt validation for my writing,” said Rodenbeck. “I write because it’s one of the only things I truly love doing. I think it’s a form of self-expression, too: I do it to make myself feel good.”

Rodenbeck’s friends and mentors know of his passion for writing and were equally euphoric at the news. One of the very first things Rodenbeck did when he found out that his poem had been chosen was to tell Gebhart.

Rodenbeck writes for his AP Lang class during lunch. He takes higher level English classes because he plans on majoring in creative writing in college. (Izzy Honey)

“He’s definitely a mature writer. He writes with a lot of poise that a lot of people don’t have,” explained Gebhart. “I’d say he has a lot of maturity in his writing and doesn’t just talk about superficial things.”

Longtime friend Trinity Stevenson, RHS junior, was also extremely overjoyed at the news.

“I was so happy for him,” exclaimed Stevenson. “I know that it’s something that he’s really passionate about, so I couldn’t help feeling like some kind of proud mom when I found out.”

On Monday, Rodenbeck received more great news; another one of his poems will be published in the fall edition of the same book. Both times, he submitted his poem to the contest by Creative Communications.

Many would agree that Rangeview High School is full of unknown talent. It hides within writers in English class, it hides in the shy students who are too nervous to audition for a play, and it hides in the athletes that don’t or can’t try out for sports. Just because it isn’t seen, doesn’t mean it isn’t there, and that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter.

If you have an original poem or essay that you are especially proud of, visit to enter it into the same contest that published Rodenbeck’s poem.