To a lot of kids, English class is that class you try really hard not to sleep through.

And poetry? I mean, who really likes poetry?

But this isn't a story about those kids.

"Poetry is music without the notes," says Kai Fischer. "It lives and breathes. It's beautiful."

"In English, you learn to think critically about who we are as people," adds Bridget Smith.

Smith and Fischer are two of the most promising high school English students in the country -- each winning awards in the New York Times "Found Poetry" contest.

Fischer took third place for his poem "Free," one entry among 2,400 contestants.

"I was stunned. It was, whoa. I did not expect it. It was amazing," says Fischer.

Smith took top honors for her poem, "When You Are 15-Years-Old," which is about growing up and self-discovery.

"The universe is bursting with all that you do not know. Questions roll like an ocean. But despite that, glimpse the electric joy of young love, the pious intensity to create in a devastatingly mundane world," Smith wrote.

Students were told to find two articles from the New York Times, choose words and phrases from them, and stitch it all together in a 14-line poem.

Smith also took top honors for an editorial she wrote called, "Dinner Table Politics." She bested more than 9,200 other writers. Her piece was also published in the New York Times. Not too shabby for a kid who is just finishing up her sophomore year of high school.

All told, 15 Edmonds-Woodway students either placed, took the highest honors, or got an honorable mention in the contest.

That's unheard of, says English teacher Nancy Branom. For her, it was a nice cherry on top of her educational sundae. She is retiring this week after 20 years in the classroom.

"My kids caught the attention of these New York Times panelists with their writing," she says. "Other people were moved by their work. For an English teacher, that is really important."