Last night was an awards ceremony where they awarded trophies and ribbons for the contests as well as the superior exhibitor in the various categories.
My daughter received a trophy for best in show for a short story she wrote (I've included the story below). She also received a 3rd place ribbon in her age group for participation in the consumer choices contest.
I am not one of those Mom's who pushes their agenda on their children, but with my daughter's love of reading and writing, I'm going to make sure I keep this trophy just in case we get to say, "I remember how you got your first award for writing when you were 8 at the local county fair."
Here's her story for those interested:
The Magic Forest
My name is Grace Clemens. I am 14 years old and in two months I'll be turning 15. I live in a two story house on Forest Drive in Hillsboro, West Virginia.
One week ago I was walking home from the store and I wasn't looking at the ground. I peacefully walked by a lamp post and then I took one more step forward and I went face forward down somewhere. Into some kind of hole. “AHHHHH!” Then in an instant I hit the ground with a thump.
I must have gotten knocked out because when I woke up I guessed it was 4:30 because of where the sun was in the sky. And I wasn't on my street anymore either! I stood at the edge of a dense forest. I heard nothing but the chirping of crickets and the buzzing of mosquitoes. Suddenly I heard the sound of singing. I made my way over to the sound of the music and found myself walking toward two trees singing in harmony! “Maybe I hit my head harder than I thought,” I said. The trees sang this song:
We have magical, magical, magical leaves,
Yes, us trees!
Our leaves are magical, yes they are,
Eat one and you will go far.
To a magical realm called Camelot.
I hid behind a tree. 'A talking tree! How is this possible? I must be dreaming,' I thought. I pinched myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. 'Oh no!' I thought. 'I wasn't dreaming after all!'
“AHHHHHHH!” I screamed.
“What seems to be the matter?” said the tree I was hiding behind.
“AHHHHHHH!” I said again as I jumped away from the tree.
“What is causing you to be so scared?” said the tree.
“Um, you,” I said.
“Why?” said the tree.
“I've never seen a talking tree before. Are you nice?” I asked.
“Of course,” said the tree.
I was so scarred I was shivering.
“Do not worry,” said one of the trees that had been singing. “We are nice trees and we can take you to Camelot if you’d like.”
“No thanks,” I said, “But can you, umm, take me to the real world?”
“Not us,” said the tree I hid behind, “But there is one tree who can. To get to that tree, you must go further into the wood and you will find a maze. You have to find your way to the center where you will find the tree. Eat one of it's leaves and think about the place you love most and you will go there.”
“Thanks!” I said. I started walking into the forest expecting it to be dark and treacherous, but instead there were more talking trees who said, “Hello!” when I passed. As I got deeper, leaves of the trees covered any light from getting through and these trees didn't talk or say hello.
I emerged from the trees and into the light, and saw the maze standing before me. It was 8 feet tall and made of neatly trimmed holly bushes. I was really good at mazes, so it was really easy for me to get to the center. When I got to the center I stopped dead in my tracks. Two black growling wolves stood in my path. I ran back the way I came from as fast as I could, expecting the wolves to be right behind me, but they weren't. That didn't keep me from being scarred.
'Ok, you have to do this if you ever want to get home,' I told myself. So I headed back to the center of the maze and walked up to the wolves shivering with fear.
“What are you doing here?” a wolf said.
“I need one of this trees leaves to get home. I don't mean any harm,” I said.
“Fine,” said the wolf, “but remember, if you hurt that tree, you will be my dinner.”
“OK,” I said walking over to the tree. As gently as possible, I picked one of the leaves. I put it into my mouth and it tasted like peppermint. I thought of home and in a flash of light I was home!
My son, won 1st place in consumer choices (so he got a trophy as opposed to the ribbon my daughter received). At the ceremony we found out that their age group (the youngest) was accidentally given the hardest choices to make. I was proud before, but I'm even more proud now (and so are they).
In addition to the trophy for consumer choices, my son also got a trophy for best in show in general crafts for a whip he made. He also got a trophy (and money) for being a superior exhibitor in both food and photography. Can you tell how happy he was by this picture?
I love it when my children get to experience first hand that hard work can pay off. It was also nice watching them cheer on some of their friends as they also won awards.
So, we are already planning on what we will be doing next year. The sooner we start, the more they can enter, and the more chances they have of winning. My kids may not be athletic like I was at their age, but they do have a competitive streak, so they got that little part of me. And next year they won't be competing against each other because my son is moving up an age group (and this Mama is just fine with that).