A junior at Heritage High is proving to be quite the winning writer.

Cherylnn Lima recently took first place in the California Coastal Commission's 2013 art and poetry student contest.

With nearly 2,300 entries, sponsors said the competition was "fierce." But, still the Brentwood student dazzled with a deep and vivid poem about the ocean.

Along with the other winning entries, her work now makes its way around the state.

It will be on exhibit at Marin County's Point Reyes Visitor Center in May and June; Mendocino's Ford House Museum July through September; Ventura's Channel Islands' National Park Visitor Center in October and November, and La Jolla's Birch Aquarium in December through early January.

Lima also earned a $100 book store gift card and tickets to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.

The contest suited Lima well, as it combined many aspects she loves -- poetry, writing and the ocean. "I love its calmness and powerful beauty, and I've never really gotten a chance to write about (the ocean)." She didn't think her poem was "really worth much of anything," so winning "was a really pleasant shock." This is the second time Lima has entered the winner's circle this school year.

Earlier this year, she nabbed first prize in the Martin Luther King "I Have a Dream" art contest in San Francisco. Lima took the top spot in the high school category for her digital drawing and 250-word essay against hundreds from the Bay Area. Her pieces are on display at the Old Mint, Fifth and Mission, in the City. The win earned her a $250 gift certificate for art supplies.

She entered the King contest as a "good opportunity to learn more about cultural diversity and hardship." Lima has always liked writing, with poetry her favorite form. "It is so eloquent. We can learn so much from poets." She finds writing meditative and calming, and has specific process. "(I get) absolutely enraptured in my work. I sit on my bed with a candle and put on either classical or instrumental music. It really stimulates my senses and creativity." Despite her writing talents, Lima hopes to become a graphic artist or illustrator. "I really love anything artistic, especially the graphic media." Here's Lima's winning poem:

California's Coast

I watched you as you slept

Murmurs beneath the surface

A pane of glass

The sand here is silk

Blonde by a summer sun

You are a bounty of life and elegance

Even the moon wants you

I watched you as you woke

Lunar fingers and

Cool lips kiss at sapphire skin,

And suddenly you are alive

Rippling, streaming,

Animate and breathing

In a chorus of lovely sea foam

I watched you as you sang

A handsome crescendo

You raise your voice so

Even the heavens can listen

Milky waves brush clean the shore and

Midnight pearls glitter on the coast

You dazzled me

The Coastal Commission's contest was open to kindergarten to 12th-grade students, with a winner for each grade level. The group held the competition to "inspire ... A population that cares about the coast is more likely to work to conserve and protect it." For more info, visit www.coastal.ca.gov.

PAPER CHASE: Liberty High grad night committee hosts a Shred This fundraiser from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. April 20 in the Brentwood school's horseshoe lot at 850 Second St. Bring your unwanted documents for destruction in bankers boxes ($5 cost) or garbage bags ($10 each). There is a maximum of five boxes or bags per person. For those with more materials, additional pricing applies. For more info, call Shred This LLC at 877-653-3691.

If you have school news to share, contact Trine Gallegos at trineg@att.net. You can also reach Judith Prieve at jprieve@bayareanewsgroup.com.