The Kids Are All Right – The Winning Essays From This Year’s Writing Tournament

480074_10151437089983325_314433884_nThirty-eight seventh and eighth grade students from ten local public, private and charter schools competed in the countywide Writing Tournament on Thursday, January 22, at Miners Foundry Cultural Center. The Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Office coordinated the annual event which was sponsored by Coldwell Banker Grass Roots Realty, Debbie St. John, Realtor and Miners Foundry.

 

The students were judged on three styles of writing:

  • Expository Writing: Karen Ball of Heart and Soul Alpacas and Spinnery spoke to the students. Afterwards, the students were given time to write a paper on what they had heard and seen.
  • Creative Writing: The students wrote compositions based on Miners Foundry
  • Letter Writing: Students were asked to write a letter to the Editor of The Union expressing their views on the value of saving historical buildings such as Miners Foundry.

Below are this year’s winners.  We were amazed by each student’s creativity, skill and depth.  It is always a pleasure for us to sponsor and host such an important community event such as the Writing Tournament, but this year we are truly touched.  Thank you!

Creative Writing

7th Grade, 1st Place
Amber Busse, Seven Hills
The year was 1764. I looked down at my dangling feet and my cool blue dress. Thomas should be here by now. My hair fell in front of my face, and I brushed it behind my ear. I looked out at the silver stream beneath my feet. The wall I sat on was cold and firm, but my body heat warmed the cool gray stones beneath me. Then I saw him: Thomas Medley, my best friend. As he approached me, he brushed off the dust on his old gray shirt.

“Sorry for being late, Miss Fiona.” He swept low in a mock bow, and I laughed.

”What are you waiting for?” he asked, holding his hand out to me, which I gladly took. He lifted me upwards, and he pulled me towards the Miners Foundry. As we walked hand in hand, I could see something was troubling him; I could see it in his eyes.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, a look of concern spreading across my face.

“Look, Fiona, I asked you to meet me here because there is something I have to tell you,” he said, looking at his feet. “A prophecy came to my parents when I was born. I am supposed to be shot on the 17th of April, 1764.”

I looked at him, and all possible worries came crashing down on top of me.

“That’s today!” I squeezed his hand tighter.

“I want to go to heaven in your arms.” He said to me, and that’s when it happened. He leaned in and kissed me, sending butterflies through my stomach. We walked in silence through the old stone hall, and I looked up at the chandeliers hanging above our heads.

“It’s so beautiful in here.” I marveled, and he smiled at me.

“We always came here as kids.” He said, looking at me with longing.

“I’ll miss you, Thomas.”

“Fiona, I’ll always be in your heart.” He said.

That broke me into a million pieces. I sat down on the cold floor and started to cry.

“Please don’t leave me.” I said between sobs.

Then a gunshot sounded. I looked up through my blurry, tear-stained eyes, and I saw him. Lying on the ground, lifeless, looking at me. I crawled over to him, not caring how town my dress was becoming. I leaned over him, and I sobbed my heart out, hoping my tears would bring him back to life.

Thomas was always the funny, sweet, emotional boy. He was my one true love, and I knew I’d never find someone like him again. His brown hair, hazel eyes, rosy cheeks, thin lips; they were all gone. Gone because of some stupid prophecy. It made me want to kill myself, to be with him in heaven. My rage grew into an unquenchable fire with flames that lept in every direction. I wanted to scream. It seemed as though my life was over. I looked at his pale face, and suddenly I grew calm. He calmed me, dead or alive, and I loved him. With a heavy heart, I stood up, and walked through the building that freed us from all problems and doubts. Our building. Tears formed in my eyes again as I walked alone through the old Stone Hall.

Creative Writing

8th Grade, 1st Place
Keegan O’Sullivan, Chicago Park

Old bricks stacked against the cold cement floor. Lights adorned the windows, and paint peeled off the beams in the ceiling. An old rusty heater was placed against the wall, and the place smelled musty. Some might call this building drab, old, even haunted. But to me, this place was wonderful. I admired the particles of dust dancing around in the beams of light streaming through the windows and when I looked up, I found patterns of swirls and shapes etched into the ceiling by water stains and paint. I heaved a long, dreamy sigh. This is where I belong.

It had been a couple of weeks since the bullying had started. First it started with the incessant teasing. Then it grew into harsh pranks and crude comments directed towards me with a sneer. Now, I could hardly bear the looks of utter disgust as I walked through the hallways at school. This building, this place of wonder and simplicity somehow soothed my mind, and made me forget the raciest remarks that cut so deeply. I leaned my head against the cold, uneven stone, slumping down until I reached the cement floor. Tears streamed down my face. I angrily wiped my face. It wasn’t fair, it was downright unjust and cruel and harsh and just….unfair. What had I ever done to receive this treatment. What person could be cruel enough to do this to me? Thump! A sound echoed through the room, and I froze like a deer in front of headlights. The door creaked open, and a silhouette of a person emerged into my line of sight. I wanted to scream, to shout at the intruder to just leave me alone, but my mouth wouldn’t move. My eyes followed the figure as she sat down against the now closed door, eyes welling with tears. The girl had chocolate brown eyes, a pile of mousy hair clumped on her head, and a petite little nose with dainty freckles scattered across it. She had peachy white skin. I sat up, and the noise I made attracted her attention to me. Her head whipped in my direction, and I braced myself for more bullying, more bullets of words pelted in my direction. But none came. Slowly, the girl walked across the room towards me until she was toe to toe with me. “What are you doing here?” she asked. I didn’t answer, I only ran, ran as fast as I could until I could run no more. I ran through the thicket of trees, past the road and to my house. My heart was racing.

The next day, the girl was waiting for me when I entered the building. “I want to help.” She said. “How do you know that I need help?” I countered. “I saw you crying, the other day, and I just want to let you know that somebody cares.” I felt my heart drop to the bottom of my chest, and I sensed that this strange girl could help me. “Okay.” I said. From that moment on, we became friends, and as the months passed by, I felt it easier to bear the burden of hard, cold stares and glares.

The next month, I came to the building, with dangerous thoughts. Thoughts that I was afraid of, and didn’t know what to do with. The girl wasn’t there that day, and I turned towards the wall. I was ready to be done, to end this life, to enter a world with no more bullying, no more sorrow. Then the door creaked open, and she entered. “What are you doing?” she screamed, looking from the pills in my hand to the look on my face. “I don’t know. I don’t know.” I kept repeating over and over. I was shaking. She wrapped me up in her arms. “You’re okay. You’re okay.” I told her everything in that moment; my hurts and sorrows, and how I couldn’t take it any more. As I spurt out each sentence, I felt my burden becoming lighter and lighter. I heaved a sigh of relief when I finished glad to have finally got out all of my feelings. The girl turned toward me and took my hand. “I will always be here for you.” I walked out of that building a new person, learning to count my blessings, not my failures, and look towards happy things, not dwell on the past. To this day, this building stands as a reminder as to who I’ve become, and how I don’t have to be alone in carrying my burdens.

Letter Writing

7th Grade, 1st Place
Amber Busse, Seven Hills

Felicia Ennetta
18044 Columbine Court
Nevada City, CA 95959

January 22, 2015

Brian Hamilton, Editor
The Union
464 Sutton Way
Grass Valley, CA 95945

Dear Mr. Hamilton:

It has come to my attention that some people would like to tear down the Miners Foundry. In place of the Foundry, they would build something more modern, like a grocery store. The Miners Foundry is just an old useless building, right?

This assumption is wrong. People in the past have performed plays here, hosted auctions here, and had tournaments here. The Foundry is a historical site that has been around since 1855. Many people love this building, and it’s a great place to host a big event.

The Miner’s Foundry is a part of our county, and I suggest that we do not tear it down. As I have stated before, the Foundry is a great place to host large events and it is beloved to many people. Historians could make discoveries in this old building; it’s a historic landmark! This building symbolizes life back in the Gold Rush days, and I would hate to have it tore apart.

If you are thinking there’s no use in keeping the foundry, there’s no purpose for it, I can prove you wrong. Think of all the events that take place. All of the happy memories, a feel of the old days. A lot of people had grandparents who lived in 1855, so this place is near and dear to their hearts. There are plenty of places to build a grocery store, and if you tear one down, you can just build another one. Once the Foundry is gone, it’s gone for good. If you built a newer one, it wouldn’t have the same feel to it. I wouldn’t be the same.

I hope you have taken my idea to heart, because if you tear down the foundry, for some people you will be tearing apart their hearts. There is plenty of room for a new grocery stores, but there is no room for them at the Foundry. The Foundry is the Foundry; nothing can change that.

Sincerely yours

Felicia Ennetta
Letter Writing

 

8th Grade, 1st Place
Keegan O’Sullivan, Chicago Park

Number 809
123 Streetname Rd.
Colfax, CA 95713

Brian Hamilton, Editor
The Union
464 Sutton Way
Grass Valley, CA 95945

Dear Brian Hamilton:

I address this letter to you due to the fact that you are considering tearing down Miners Foundry. I would like you to consider keeping Miners Foundry because it would help us to remember our past, better our lives, and be a gateway to the past.

People are constantly taking their children to museums and old buildings, and tearing down Miners Foundry would erase a time of history, and soon all memories of the California Gold Rush would wash away. We need to have something to remind us of the trials and tribulations our ancestors went through to take us this far. Destroying Miners Foundry would be choosing to ignore the struggles that they went through to get us here today.

Miners Foundry would also better our lives. Think of all the chaos and noise it would take to take this building down. Those noises would be a disturbance to the neighborhood, and create more problems than it would solve. Keeping Miners Foundry is clearly the better solution.

Families want to remember what it was lie to be in the Gold Rush, and Miners Foundry holds those memories. If it was replaced with a store, that would be destroying those memories.

Keeping Miners Foundry will help us remember our past, better our lives and create a gateway to the past. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Number 809

 

 

 

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