Congratulations to the 2021 Creative Writing Contest Winners!

Congratulations to the 2021 Creative Writing Contest Winners!

Winners Announced – Creative Writing Contest for Youth

Congratulations to Amber Malinak for winning the $100 Grand Prize for Best Overall Submission to the 2021 Creative Writing Contest!

The Top 5 entries are listed below.

Thank you to all the great youth writers who showed us your voice in the topics that mean the most to you and told us how you are inspired to change your world!

Entrants had a choice of writing…

  • An essay about an influential woman in honor of International Women’s Month
  • An essay about an inspiring current event, or
  • An inspiring poem

Best Overall Submission – Amber Malinak

Untitled Essay

Over the fifteen years of my life, I have realized how much of an extraordinary influence my mother has been on my life. She is the kind of person who wakes herself up at 3 a.m. to make sure my father is ready for work, the kind of mother who always has food on the table no matter how tough her day was, and the kind of leader who inspires others to do something good every single day. Growing up with such a strong role model, I have developed some of her best qualities. For example, I have become a strong, independent woman and I owe it all to her.

I wouldn’t have gotten the achievement of high honor roll all throughout high school and middle school if it wasn’t for my mother. She inspired me to try my very best on every assignment and test. She was always so proud of me, even if it wasn’t a perfect grade. Her faith and pride in me motivated me to continue to try my best. One of the most important things she taught me was to cherish everything and not take things for granted. She lost her mother a few years ago, and it really took a toll on her. During the whole time she was grieving, never once did she stop acting like our mother. I have learned to cherish moments because you don’t know how long they will last. I especially remember this one moment when my sister and I were fighting and my mother walked up to us and said that fighting was a waste of time, and we should spend our time enjoying each other instead. I have never forgotten that, even though it happened over ten years ago. My mother has always been the person who I trusted the most. She is always there for me when I need someone. When I think back to all those times, one stands out the most. I have cheered my whole entire life and I was always so scared to fly in the stunts. Most flyers are excited to be up so high, but I was always so nervous. Even though I wanted to quit flying countless times, I never did because I knew it would disappoint my mother. I am glad she had faith in me because now I am doing stunts I never would have imagined doing all those years ago. Before every competition, she would give me a pep talk and I always looked for her in the crowd. Seeing her eased my anxiety and I ended up hitting every stunt in the routine. Finally, she was the one that inspired me to write this essay. I knew she would be so proud of me when she found out I was going out of my comfort zone and trying something new.

My mother has inspired me to change the world and make it a better place. I am the best version of myself that I can possibly be because of everything she has done for me. I can’t thank her enough for being the best mother anybody could ask for.

2nd Place – Grace Parulski

Everyone’s the same

A wise man once said all men are created equal
All are one in God’s sight
There is no black or no white.
No high or low,
No rich or poor.
For we are all fighting the same war,
With one voice of the people.

Then why do people criticize the different?
Why can’t people be more considerate?
There is no higher man,
There is no greater woman.
In this world, we are all the same.

Accept the gifts that are given to us.
We live in a world where there is success
There is no need for extra fuss
When there is much to express.

Everyone lives,
Everyone dies,
Everyone bleeds,
Everyone cries.
In a world where everyone is different, we are all the same.

3rd Place – Jodi Mead

Police Brutality

Slaves. Segregation. Racism. People have been holding a grudge against black people for as long as we can remember. But in the spring of 2020, one murder pushed people over the edge.

To his daughter, he was Daddy. To my aunt Laura, he was her library patron. To the community of Minneapolis, he was a friend.

The death of Mr. George Floyd was a shock to everyone, even though black murders had been happening far before that. There had been too many.

Especially by police officers.

What was his crime? Stealing? Resisting? Being black? Certainly nothing he did would deserve the death penalty. And yet, a police officer knelt on top of his neck. “I can’t breathe!” Mr. Floyd said to the officer. The police didn’t care at all.

Which reminds me of the murders of Michael Brown and Elijah McClain, both murdered for simply walking down the street, with no weapons. The police were killing black people for doing practically nothing. Next, the police made and put up offensive flags to show that they were better than black people, and that they were doing the right thing.

Police brutality has always been a major problem. The police force fails to see what black people need, and they fail to see things from their point of view. Black people can be just as innocent as white people, and just as guilty. All people are equal. But not all people are treated like they are.

So that’s when people started peacefully protesting where Mr. Floyd used to live. People flooded the streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota, right in my aunt’s neighborhood. And the police didn’t like that at all. So they started to attack. Tear gas and rubber bullets were shot into the streets. More than a dozen Americans were killed during the protests last year.
The worst part is that in most cases, the police officers don’t get arrested. Or punished. If they don’t get punished, the murders will never stop. And the things that are happening to black people will never change.

And even though the police were using force, the people weren’t. They were waving signs, singing, chanting and walking around the city. Yes, they were angry. Some even destroyed property. But, the police attacked them. Even children died, including a black girl who was only in seventh grade.

More than one-thousand people are murdered every year by the police, and twenty-five percent of those people are black, even though black people only make up thirteen percent of our population.

Also, black people have always gotten less pay than white people for the same job. They think, “This may be the highest I could get,” and learn to accept what they have. But they shouldn’t. Black people deserve the same rights as white people. Even though the law says that they have them, they don’t.

In our own community, we have seen many instances of excessive force including police using pepper spray on a nine year old girl and a woman holding her baby.

Imagine this. You are a black person and everyone treats you like you don’t matter. Then one day, you get held down by police officers for being yourself. For simply walking around, or talking to someone. The police threaten you, spray you with pepper spray, and throw you in jail.

The truth is, no person should be treated like that, no matter what their skin color is. But the police have no empathy for black people. They don’t care about their families or whether they have the right to live if their skin is a different color.

In the future, I plan to peacefully protest, and urge people to do the same. Without protesting, people, including police officers, will never see what is right. And this circle of violence and racism will never end unless we keep on trying to make the world a better place.

I would also fight for programs where social workers could be called instead of the police.

Children often look up to police officers, thinking of them as heroes. And some of them truly are. But many of them need to change the way they think and act towards other people, especially people of color.

When kids see police treating people differently based on the color of their skin, they will do the same. If kids see police officers as peace keepers who try to prevent violence instead of creating it, they will do the same.

So now, we have a choice to stand up. We can stand up and face police brutality. We can stand up to racism. We can stand up for what is right.

Honorable Mention – Jonas Henley

Untitled Poem

I’m not here for the money, nor the fame, but here for the creatures that don’t have a say.

We have their houses cut down in a day by the humans that don’t care about their say. Any human that tries to differ gets shut down without delay.

Now you might be asking yourself, ”What do I have to say?” Now I think we should plant for every tree we displace.

Now I think this because one tree could enchant.

What I mean when I say this is one tree can save lives for the cost of nudging a seed to survive.

Another idea that has come to mind is we can plant a lot of trees all at once to survive. Because after all, we need trees too, for us humans need them to breathe.
The question is my friendly friends, why do we hurt a really really good friend.

You may call me a tree hugger or a stray but don’t be offended when I say that deforestation should end today.

Honorable Mention – Ashlyn Perkins

Untitled Essay

Why Susan b. Anthony inspired me. She inspired me because it’s not fair to women that we get made fun of because we can’t do anything but we can do anything we believe in even if men doubt us we will just have to keep going and prove them wrong that we can do anything they can do and she traveled the world and made sure everyone heard her voice that women should be able to vote like men. Also Why Susan b. Anthony inspired me is because stood up so women would get the same pay as men when they were doing the same work be they would be payed less then men to do the same exact work so she thought that was not fair and she decided to speak up and say everyone should get equal pay be where doing the same work. Also why susan b. anthony inspired me is because I want to make a difference in the world. I want to help people like Susan b. Anthony did she helped alot of women and she made a difference so I want to be like her and help people in need like people on the streets or something like that because she inspired me to help people on the streets or something like that.

How Susan b. Anthony inspired me how she inspired me to help and stand up for our rights if boys can play basketball or something then girls should be able to do the exact same thing as men or boys do also how she Inspired me is she helped women be able to own properties and have earnings because It was not fair that men could own things and have earnings but women couldnt so Susan b. Anthony stood up and said this Is not fair and soon after that women got rights to alot of things like voting and rights to own property.

How I will follow Susan b. Anthony’s lead in the next few years is that i will always stick up so that women and girls can do and have the same thing boys have and do because it is not fair that men and boys doubt us we should all be treated the same because we women can do anything men and boys can do and I how i will also folllow Susan b. Anthony is that ilwill make sure people arent being treated badly or like slaves.

What changes the world around us that we will see her changes is that back in the old days Susan b. Anthony made sure that women could vote and susan b. Anthony would never give up until one day people finally said yes and women got the right to vote and then to this day and forward women will be able to vote because of a nice kind lady named Susan b. Anthony was the one that helped women get rights to vote and she was kind and helped to make sure there were no more slaves.