Write from the Heart Essay Contest Winners!
Middle School Winners
We are so excited to announce the middle school winners of our 3rd annual essay contest.
Students in our annual classes submitted an essay of their choice, and one winner was chosen in each grade. Today, we are pleased to share the winning essays from 6th, 7th, and 8th grade!
6th Grade Winner
Robby T., Pennsylvania
A Wave’s Potential
My beach vacation begins with the water lapping at my sides. I jump and dive until the waves go still. I am at a wave jumper’s picture-perfect spot. I float at the point where the waves are high but don’t crash on top of me, so I can have a successful wave jumping experience. I jump but in vain; a humongous wave breaks on top of my head. The saltwater tastes like I’m biting into a lemon. When I finally find my footing and stand, spitting water and rubbing my eyes, I see another wave just like the last one. I also see hundreds of tiny, brown birds diving into the water in search of fish. Seconds later, I dive under and feel something small and slimy on my hand. Eventually, I will realize it was a baby jellyfish. When the crashing waves die down, I notice different sounds like squawks in the distance. But loudest of all is my seven-year-old sister screaming, “It’s gonna blow!” whenever a large wave approaches. The sights, sounds, and sensations of wave jumping are thrilling every time.
7th Grade Winner
Jocelyn C., Texas
For 2 years, my family (my parents, brother, 2 sisters, and I) lived in an RV, and it was fun, but also emotionally difficult. We wanted to improve our family’s physical and emotional health while also going for the adventure. So when I was nine years old, we decided to painfully get rid of most of our things to move into the RV. This was a big risk because my parents didn’t have remote jobs, yet they chose to RV anyway.
During our trip, we discovered National Parks. We developed a love for nature and began to hike every weekend, homeschooling on the weekdays. We hiked in the lush Shenandoah, looked for alligators in the swampy Everglades, waded in glacial lakes in the magnificent Grand Tetons, and watched Old Faithful erupt in Yellowstone.
Even so, our family still had our problems. Adding to that, the RV, only a thirty-foot long trailer, was so small that no one had their own space. It caused irritation. We constantly bickered and yelled. There were six people in this family all with our own personalities. All of us were strong-willed and stubborn in our own way. For example, my brother and I could easily get into huge fights and neither of us ever wanted to give in:
Me: “Why did you say that?! You’re mean.”
Him: “I didn’t say anything. You’re mean.”
Me: “You did! You’re mean!”
Him: “No, you are!”
Me: “YOU ARE!”
Him: “NO, YOU ARE!!”
On and on we went. It‘s easy to see where this was going. (Hint: nowhere.)
If we kept at this, it wouldn’t help our family’s emotional health. It got so bad that our whole family spent late nights talking about it, wrestling with our explosive arguments and unhappiness. We used these talks to voice all of our frustration and anger. For the first time, we realized that we didn’t know how to express our voice, and we always suppressed it. Then it would build and build until it exploded at the slightest provocation. But because we lived in an RV, we could no longer run and hide from each other when we were upset, unlike before when we were in a bigger home.
We finally came up with a system. Every time there was an explosion, we worked it out, found out what had happened, and tried to make things right, even if it took hours. We tried to make it so that we were comfortable with sharing our feelings. Very gradually, we could be around each other without anger. We could express our emotions without fear.
This RV trip means a lot to me. It helped me see who I was and what I could do. It showed us as a family what we could be. It entirely changed our lives. My dad liked it so much that he got a remote software job in order for us to go back into the RV again. And here we are, embarking on yet another RV journey.
Honorable Mention—Janelle M., Maryland “An Extraordinary Resort Spot” (Composition 101B)
8th Grade Winner
Julia R., Pennsylvania
Why Riding Isn’t So Easy
It was the second round of the competition. I tightened the reins, as I cantered towards the jump, counting my strides. ‘One, two, three…’ I realized I wasn’t going to make it in a full stride. I braced myself, pushing my feet down in the stirrups to improve my balance. As I thought, my horse couldn’t fit a whole stride in before the jump. My horse skidded to a halt and I almost fell off. Since my heels were down I was able to keep my balance, and I recovered quickly. Although riding may seem easy, there are many things to consider, including you and your horse’s movements.
If you don’t think about and control your horse’s movements, the horse will decide where to go, and you will have no control over the destination. Whenever you are riding a horse, you will need to control their movements. A bridle is a piece of leather that goes over the face of a horse. A metal strip called a bit goes in the horse’s mouth. Two long pieces of leather are attached to that bit. Although there are other ways to control your horse, using a bridle is the most common way. Other ways are pressure from your legs and verbal commands.
Along with controlling your horse, you need to control your movements. Keeping your heels down improves your balance. Holding your hands steady ensures that your horse’s gait, the way a horse moves, will be smooth. Also, not swinging your legs makes sure that you aren’t accidentally kicking your horse.
Horseback-riding is not an easy sport because there are many things to consider. There are many things to think about and keep in mind. In my opinion, the goal of riding is to stay safe, enjoy your ride, and be effective in training your horse.
Honorable Mention—Kelsey G., Alaska “Harpsichord vs. Autotune” (Composition 102)