The Winner of the 2018 Young Writers’ Awards is…

April 26, 2018

…Congratulations to Sreeja Surisetti of Nichols Elementary School! Read her story below, followed by comments from this year’s judge Tani Lamb!

From Birthday Girl to Hero

It was a dark and rainy day on the morning of December 25th in Memphis, Tennessee and the Jones family, who were very poor, were driving in their rusty red Ford to their grandmother’s house to celebrate Christmas. The family was having a great day, happily laughing and singing along with the radio. Suddenly, a nearby truck slipped in the rain and rammed into the Jones’ old Ford, causing the back half to be crushed.

Unfortunately, Sarah Jones, the fourteen year old daughter of the family, was sitting in the back seat and was severely injured. Her legs were crushed between her seat and the seat in front of her. Sarah fainted. Immediately, her parents gasped.

“We have to get her to the doctor!” Mrs. Jones whispered, desperately hoping that her eyes were playing tricks on her. But there was only one problem: the Jones family could not afford an amputation. The parents had no clue what to do…

Meanwhile in Scarsdale, New You, Stephanie Robertson woke up. She hardly slept because she was so excited for her fourteenth birthday. Her friends were going to come over, her mom was making a tasty buttercream cake, and she was going to get numerous beautifully wrapped presents. Just the thought of it made her jump out of her seafoam green bed.

As Stephanie plopped on to the comfy sofa in her living room and turned on the TV, when a young blonde news reporter popped up on the screen.

“Breaking News,” he said. “Fourteen year old Sarah Jones is severely injured and can’t afford the medical help needed.”

“Oh my!”, Stephanie thought. “I have to do something.”

The news reporter kept talking, showing terrifying pictures of the injured girl. Stephanie switched off the TV, as she couldn’t bear any longer. She jumped off the sofa, when an idea struck her.

“What if I gave up my birthday presents for the year and instead I could ask my friends to raise money for Sarah to get the medical help needed?” But then Stephanie hesitated. “But birthday presents are my favorite thing in the world” she thought. Then she remembered the pictures of the girl. “At least I was happy my last thirteen birthdays. Maybe it’s time to make somebody else happy, and possibly helping someone in need will make me happier.” Stephanie told her parents and they were happy she was willing to help someone in need. Soon as per her request, contributions started pouring in.

Later that evening, Sarah has surgery done with the help of Stephanie and her friends. Stephanie’s actions brought much happiness to Sarah’s family. The two girls learned that to be a Hero, you don’t have to be Supuerman and learn to fly. Many people all around us are heroes and the one thing they all have in common is that they bring happiness all around.

A word from our competition judge Tani Lamb:

“From Birthday Girl to Hero” showcased compassion, self-reflection, and personal sacrifice in order to help a disadvantaged, less fortunate stranger. The idea that a fourteen-year-old individual could take inventory and assess that she had enough material possessions forecasts hope for the future.

“From Birthday Girl to Hero” also noted, “that you do not have to be Superman and learn to fly. Many people all around us are heroes, and they bring happiness all around.” I loved this ending because the student emphasized that one does not need to possess a superpower in order to make a difference. Regular people are equipped with the ability, within themselves, to perform miraculous deeds and effect change.

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