I won a few little contests at the very start of my jaunt with poerrtry, & they were very important to me. Encouragement.
all the high school literary contests
"The Rose Low Rome Prize For Poetry", 1971 (Brown U.)
"The Charles Philbrick Memorial Prize" (same)
"Academy of American Poets something something Hon. Mention" (that's me : Hiz Hon. Men. Henry Gould)
(all judged via anonymous submissions.)