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Standout Student Series: Most Philosophical 4th Grader In America

Local boy wins national award.


At the 2008 “Philosophy Slam,” a talented young boy wrote a poem about the dangers posed by global warming. That poem earned him the title of “The Most Philosophical 4th Grader in America.” 


Such a lofty achievement at such a young age is one example of Hunter Shapiro Throckmorton’s unique childhood.


Aside from participating in the Gifted and Talented Education Program (GATE) at Meadows Elementary School, Hunter is an avid fencing student and an environmental advocate.


Hunter loves participating in GATE programs. “The program was awesome, I got to work with other GATE students, and it was really fun,” he told KHTS. His father, Mike Shapiro agrees; “The idea of being involved in the GATE program is special for him because they do special events like this.”


Philosophy Slam is an annual event geared toward making philosophy accessible and fun. The contest asks children to answer deep questions in various forms such as artwork, poetry, song, or words.


ImageThe question posed to Hunter was: “Is global warming the greatest challenge facing humankind?” In an interview with KHTS he recalled his feelings towards the environmental issue.  “Global warming doesn’t just affect humankind, it affects the animals, the surroundings, the environment…everything,” Hunter said.


With that in mind, Hunter penned this award winning poem:
I am dying.
My blue ice caps are melting away like ice cubes on concrete.
My water is rising as if it were a stalking tsunami.
There is nowhere for my polar bears to rest.
The skin of my continents is cracking
Like feet that have gone too far.
Soon when you look at my coasts, you will find bodies,
Floating in the sea with broken cities.
Would you help me?


It was recently announced that in addition to the “Most Philosophical 4th Grader in America” title, Throckmorton has also won the Robert P. Felker Award for the most poetic essay.


“The best thing about it is that Hunter put a lot of forethought in it and came out with some words and phrases and ways of putting it together that blew our mind,” Shapiro said. He continued by proclaiming that the piece was 100% Hunter’s. “We wanted to put our input, but he wouldn’t allow us…he really did it all by himself and did an excellent job of poetically expressing himself about the environment and about the possibilities of the future.”


Also placing in the contest from Meadows School were Brandon Fagan, who earned 5th Place in the 4th grade, and Alexis Block who earned 3rd Place in the 6th grade.

Standout Student Series: Most Philosophical 4th Grader In America

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