"To begin, this poem has a solid grasp of unforced and intuitive rhyme choices, making smart use of slant rhyme in two stanzas particularly. It appears clear that care was taken with the diction of the piece to assist it in flowing more smoothly, as well.
“And as I discarded the broken shells
Taking note of their beauty too
I found myself wondering why
Those seemed to have less value.”
There is an extremely captivating and thoughtful analysis of nature here - why, because something is broken, is it viewed as lesser? Of course, there may be logic in brokenness diminishing the physical value of an item, but on a scale of beauty, especially the poem’s subject of shells, the poet is quite right to see that they can still be just as beautiful as whole shells.
The poem is also a strong analysis of society as a whole; shells, sure, but also people. Time and experience may mark people with scars and stories, but they are still as valuable as someone without the history. And the history is what makes that person - “What adventures went unexplored?” - and tells that they have lived an experienced life.
A wonderful poem and a truly beautiful look at the world."
This is a well thought out and well written poem. The analogy you've used is nothing short of beautiful, meaningful, easy to grasp and packed with a great moral. Don't be surprised that you won this contest, because it's no wonder that you did. Congrats ma'am :)