Third Place Winner: 2019 Explore Horizons Writers’ Awards

April 18, 2019

Check out the entry that our judge Murray Richter awarded 3rd place in the 2019 Explore Horizons Writers’ Awards: “A Chance To Change the World”

Author: Vir Gandhi

School: McSpedden Elementary School

A boy with a caramel colored face stepped out of a car. As the chilly morning wind howled, the boy walked into his school. “Hi! How was your summer in Africa, Ayden?” Alex asked his friend. “Africa was incredible!” Ayden piped up excitedly. “You should’ve seen those humongous wild animals!” “Mexico had beautiful beaches and I even learned how to surf,” Zelda, their friend, jumped in. “How nice, Zelda! In India, I visited the Taj Mahal! It was outstanding!” Alex said as he walked towards his classroom.
Later, in the afternoon, as Alex, Ayden, and Zelda were walking home from school, Alex started an interesting conversation. “There was one incident during my trip to India that really troubled me. My grandparents’ house help daily brought along her nine-year old son to work. One day, I saw him sneaking over and stealing my younger sister’s math book. I was the only one who’d noticed, so I came up to him and asked why he was stealing the book. He said, ‘I’m sorry!’ while dejectedly handing back the book to me. I told him to calm down and tell me why he was stealing it. He said he couldn’t attend school because his parents didn’t have enough money for his schooling. I let him have the book and told him not to steal anyone’s stuff. But since then I’ve been struggling to grapple with what had happened. I mean, how do kids like him learn?” Alex complained.
“I think there are many kids in Mexico too that don’t go to schools because they belong to poor families. School seems to be a luxury in their lives,” Zelda agreed. “There were many children on the roads in Africa too,” Ayden said. “I think we should do something to help them!” Alex insisted. “But what could we do?” “Let’s call our friends in other countries and brainstorm ideas!” Ayden suggested.
That night, the three kids told their pen pals about this and formed a group chat. They all agreed that they had to do something to teach kids.
The next day, after school, the kids hopped onto the internet to chat with other kids who volunteered to be part of their mission. Zelda explained their plan as the volunteer kids enthusiastically dived in to share their ideas. “Let’s first create a website, next put together an interesting curriculum and then work on assembling the teaching materials and posters on the website. That way, our volunteer teachers can use these to teach kids easily!” one kid said.
After weeks of working hard, the curriculum and teaching materials were ready and put on the website. Soon, Mission Teach Kids, through its participating volunteers, started teaching poor kids all around the world. With time a lot more volunteered and joined Mission Teach Kids to make education resources available to many poor kids. 
“Children are our future! And education is the only key tool that will help shape our better and happier future!” Alex, Zelda, and Ayden declared.

What did our contest judge, Murray Richter, have to say about Vir’s story?

Gandhi does a wonderful job of taking the current problem of global education issues, and by illustrating the power and importance of knowledge gives us a plausible solution to change the world by making it more accessible to those in need. The story also shows us that we’re all similar in many ways, and working together we can make a difference that not only changes our world, but the entire planet. Well done indeed!

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