By Matt Wiley

It began as just another poem on a computer screen, one of hundreds. But, something about the words on the screen jumped out at everyone who read it, and in a contest, that is the goal of the writer.

Heta Patel’s words stood out amongst hundreds of other entries in her age group from across the nation, which won her the Grand Prize in Kumon North America’s Facebook Poetry Contest in her age group for her poem entitled “Mother Is Waiting” about Earth Day.

Patel, an eighth-grade Bartels Middle School student and New Tampa resident, is a student at Daksha Jadeja’s Lutz/Land O’Lakes Kumon Center. Heta says she decided to enter the contest all on her own.

“I am ecstatic that I won the Kumon poetry challenge,” she says. “Kumon enabled me to take on this challenge and made me amaze myself. I am so thankful to convey my message through my poem to make the world a better place.”

Her poem, “Mother Is Waiting,” which she also illustrated (see above), is a look at the creation of earth through the eyes of Mother Nature.

“Soon there was life, tiny but there it was, swarming

She poured love on them as she rained

Mother was patient.”


As part of her Grand Prize, Patel will travel to New York City on an all-expenses-paid trip where she will have lunch with Kumon North America’s president Akira Hamanaka.

“It’s wonderful that she won!” exclaims Jadeja. “Especially out of so many submissions. She’s a very bright lady. She finished the entire Kumon reading program — which goes all the way up through the 12th grade level — by seventh grade!”

Jadeja runs both the Lutz/Land O’ Lakes Kumon Center and the Wesley Chapel North Kumon Center (which is located on S.R. 54, next to Sweetbay), where students can enroll in reading and math programs to help bolster their skills. Through these programs at Jadeja’s two Kumon centers, many students are able to improve their skills and move beyond their respective grade levels.

At her two centers, Jadeja currently has about 300 students enrolled in the reading and/or math programs, of which she says 70 percent are already ahead of their grade levels.

For more information about Jadeja’s two Kumon Centers — located at 21226 Mariner Pl. in Lutz and at 27311 Wesley Chapel Blvd. in Wesley Chapel — or to get your student involved, give Daksha a call at 973-2266 or email her at And, on behalf of the New Tampa Neighborhood News, congratulations Heta!

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