Category: Grades 3-5

First place -- "Unexpected Inspiration" by Kacee Bohan

I never knew somebody 75 years old would become an inspiration to me, especially when that somebody was my Grandpa. It all started with the tingly feeling all over his foot. We knew something was wrong, there was no doubting that. He went to see different doctors and they all said pretty much the same thing: "We can try to get the blood flow back into your foot, but it is not likely." They tried and tried. He had many surgeries, but none of them worked. Then, months later he was in surgery again and this time it wasn't to fix it, it was to take it off altogether. His right leg, below the knee was gone. He stayed in the hospital for about a week letting his leg heal. We went to visit him once that week, only 3 days after his surgery. He smiled at us and we came in and gave him hugs. We said our hellos and we caught up on what was new. After that though, it was just laughs and smiles! When we went down to the main floor to eat, he asked if we wanted to play a game! He wasn't in a sad mood, and if I had just had my leg amputated, I think I would be. Looking back on the trip, I can't remember him ever looking sad, complaining, or just being frustrated.

A few days later he went back home on his wheelchair. He was doing great, it was healing, and the process was going fast! We went to go visit him about every two weeks. Whenever we went, there was no complaining or, "Why does this have to happen to me?" He was always happy, wanting to do whatever we wanted! Everybody thought he was almost ready to get out of his wheelchair! That all changed on Sept. 17. He suffered a fall and became more scared to get out of his wheelchair. We went to visit him more after his fall. He still never complained and was still up for whatever we wanted to do! He would always eat dinner with us, and just smile and laugh, like nothing was different. He was doing a lot better; his stump was starting to heal, and he was doing very well. He was making fast progress and was really heading in the right direction. We had a lot of hope.

Unfortunately, on Oct. 3, he had another fall, this time worse than the last. We were back to square one. He now had a big cut across the bottom of what was left of his leg. Whenever we saw him nothing changed, no complaining, he was still all laughs, and just happy! Slowly but surely his leg healed, bit by bit the redness went away. It was always the same, we visit, he never complains, we have a great, fun time! Four months after his surgery, we got a call. He called and told us that at his doctor's appointment, the doctors told him he would be walking out of the office with his new prosthetic. Sure enough, he walked out of the office with his prosthetic and his cane. Then a week after, on Thanksgiving, one of the most amazing and inspiring things happened. My Grandpa stood and cut the first slice of the Thanksgiving turkey. It was amazing knowing what he looked like then and what he looks like now! But one thing has always stayed the same, his happiness.

Now whenever we visit him, he's happy, walking along, even dancing! My Grandpa really inspired me, seeing how he never complained, and just was always happy. Whenever I have a problem, I will think, "This could have been so much worse, so I can't complain". It was truly one of the most inspiring things and something that I will never forget.

Second place -- "The Great Treasure" by Andrew Ernfridsson

One time very long ago in Alaska, there lived a very kind boy named Bob. Bob is 10 years old and he loves playing video games. His biggest dream had always been to find a treasure at the beach. However, he had never seen the ocean or even been close to the beach. But this month he was finally going to see the Ocean and beach in the Florida Keys. As soon as he was told he and his family was going he started to pack his things and make plans. Plans on how he could find the treasure he always wanted to find.

Suddenly, he heard a loud knock on his bedroom door. His parents opened the door and were holding a large box in their arms. "Wow, what is in that box?" asked Bob. "It's an early birthday present," said Dad. "We were thinking you might want to use this at the Beach." "Thanks," said Bob, as he started to tear open the box. The box was heavy and huge. He was so excited he had a big smile on his face as he was opening it up. Inside was a brand new metal detector. It was shiny and had a long black handle. "Thank you so much," exclaimed Bob. He gave his parents a huge hug and asked if Dad could help him assemble it. "Of course," said Dad.

Dad left to get his tools and while he was gone, Bob quickly called his friend Billy from his cellphone. "Hello," said Billy on the other end. "It's Bob," Bob said. "Guess what. I received -- a brand new metal detector to use when I go on summer break to the Florida Keys." "What!" said Billy. "We are also going to the Florida Keys this summer. June 10th to June 20th." "Same here," said Bob who could not believe that his friend was going at the same time. "Are you also staying at the Bed and breakfast?" asked Bob to his friend. "Yes, we are," said Billy laughing. Billy was so excited as well so he screamed in the phone.

Finally the day had come and they were standing in line checking in to the bed and breakfast. Billy was first in line and they nodded at each other. Bob and Billy quickly asked their parents if they could go to the beach and look for treasures. They both received a yes so they hurried down to the beach. The sand was warm and tickled between the toes as they walked thru the sand making marks with their feet. After looking around they both agreed they had found a perfect secluded spot where they would look for the treasure of a lifetime.

As soon as Bob started to use his metal detector it started to beep very fast. Beep, Beep, Beep. "We found it!" said both boys at the same time. Billy took his wood shovel and started to dig. The hole got bigger and bigger and Billy got discouraged. "Keep going," said Bob, "You can do it." Then the shovel hit something. Clonk it said. Slowly Bob and Billy started to dig around it with their hands. Then they saw it, a giant treasure chest. The chest was old, dirty and very heavy. They pulled and pulled and finally they managed to get it out of the sand and started to open it. Bobs heart was pounding so fast. He had never been so excited in his life. A treasure, found with his friend on a beautiful beach with the sun going down on the horizon.

When Billy opened the lid of the treasure chest they saw it. The whole chest had hundreds and hundreds of gold coins in it and also some jewels. Billy called his parents to come over and look. Soon all of them were standing with their mouths open staring at a treasure. Bob's dad said we needed to take it to a museum the next day. That evening both boys sat and counted the coins, took pictures and told stories of pirates and treasures.

The next morning all of them drove to the Museum and met with the director. They all sat down and explained what happened and the director was so excited. After a couple of months after not hearing anything Billy and Bob received a letter in the mail with information about the treasure and a reward.

The letter said they found a treasure from the pirate days around year 1660.

"I cannot believe it," said Bob. "My first treasure."

Third place -- "Evan and James the Daredevils" by Oliver Powell

This story takes place in Rome, 56 miles from the bay of Naples 78 AD. There was a young 13-year-old boy named Evan. He and his friend James had saved money to buy a pedal powered car kit that had two seats. The two spent half a year building, and perfecting the car. The two were ready for the final test-run, and agreed to go down an aqueduct. Evan gave explicit instructions to James to not tell his mom or dad, because if he did they wouldn't let him. Later that night, at dinner, James told them anyway, and sure enough, they said "NO NO NO!". All he heard was, "BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!". So James got up from the table like he was going to use the restroom and sprinted out of sight He jumped through the open window and dashed for Evan's house.

James lived on the farm, and his days were busy. By the time he had his chores done and ate dinner it was around 9 pm. Evan was already in bed by this time. Evan kept many secret passages for James to get in. James shook Evan awake and told him that now was the time. "Just put some pillows under your sheets." James instructed. Evan obeyed and then climbed down the rope leading from his bedroom to the ground. The two took off and headed for the garage. They grabbed the car, hopped in and sped for the nearest aqueduct.

Once they got there, they took deep breaths, and down they went. Meanwhile, the parents, who had noticed that they were gone, called each other. The boys however, "AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!" they screamed. They had come up on the three holes that led to the three water supplies. James' mom was right, the holes were too small. The two jumped out and went their separate ways. The car sped through the middle, smashing into the public Roman baths. James crashed through the first hole and the king was not happy to see a thirteen year old kid, unconscious, in his bathtub. Evan crashed through the third hole and smashed into the public drinking fountains, where his mom and dad stood. Grounded!

The day after the lifting of Evan's grounding, in 79 AD, he explained that all he wanted was to have some fun, because he had no fun in his life on the farm. His parents decided to give him their version of "fun." They took him to the circus maximus, which they called their version of fun. There was an extreme number of games and Evan wanted to try them ALL. His family decided to watch the chariot races. His parents sat together, while Evan stood in the very back with no seat to sit on. Then he left as if he needed to use the bathroom, his favorite strategy. One racer crashed and had left the field. The armor fit Evan perfectly. He hurdled into the chariot. With no experience, he had to improvise. He completed half a lap before crashing and being hit by another chariot. He held on to the bottom of this chariot to avoid death from being hit by yet another chariot. Sure enough, the chariot he was holding on to crashed. He jumped off and ended up on another chariot. "What are you doing here!!??" the racer asked. The voice sounded a lot younger than normal racers, it sounded a lot...like... "James!" Evan exclaimed. It was no dream. James had the exact same idea as Evan! The horses strained and thrashed in the field. Dust streaked backward at the other racers. The crowd extolled! The final lap had come around and just before they had cut the tape they saw all four of their parents. Evan and James dashed passed their parents and didn't stick around for the award ceremony. Their parents were irate and dashed after them.

Evan and James had been chased almost all day! They headed toward Pompeii. As their chariot rumbled to a mighty earthquake, they saw ashes billow out of the volcano and they turned around. Snap! The chains broke and the cart flipped over. It covered both boys. The cart was luckily made of stainless steel, and deflected the heat. Evan explained that soon the lava would cover the top and after the lava cooled it would be rock hard and impossible to escape. There was a long moment of silence. "GO!" Evan yelled. James flipped over the cart, along with the help of his friend. The chariot acted as a boat and carried the two to safety. After a long ride they stumbled upon a hotel outside of the city. In the distance they saw four figures, it was their parents.

Honorable mention -- "My Heroes" by Ali Washburn

What is a hero? Who is a hero? These questions once raced in my mind. I will never forget the day I learned what a true hero was.

Feb. 10, 2018: It was a normal Saturday, I was playing with my sister. We were home all day. After lunch, the TV was on and we were watching the Winter Olympics. Then all of a sudden breaking news: two Westerville police officers shot and killed. My heart skipped a beat. So many questions racing in my mind. Who was it, where did it happen, and most of all.... Why?

That week: That entire week I saw Westerville in a whole new way. All of the community was grieving for their loss, wanting their officers and sense of peace back. Everyone wanted to help in any way they could. People displayed lots of support with blue lights, blue ribbons, flags, and much more. I wanted to help just as much. I even wrote a note and placed it on Officer Morelli's cruiser outside city hall. Many people gathered day and night, and brought items of remembrance. All this, everyone helping, like a community should.

Five days later: I was standing out on the sidewalk. It was a cloudy, dark, and cold day. The weather was like what I was feeling inside. Behind me was my future middle school. Just a few years before, Officer Morelli had walked these halls, to make sure that all of the kids were safe. Westerville South High School was next door, where Officer Joering had attended years before. This would be their time passing by. Surrounding me, my teachers, family, friends, and Westerville citizens honoring the two heroes that meant so much to us. Then the procession started, the lights and cruisers was the only thing I could see in both directions. Police officers came from all over the country. Some even came from Canada to show support of the two fallen officers. My mom said she had never seen so many police cruisers in one place, neither had I. There were so many vehicles that it stretched for miles. Right then I realized how many heroes were around me. I wasn't just thinking of all the police officers, I was thinking about my teachers, my mom, my sister, my Westerville community. Although it was freezing cold, I was determined stay out there, so that I could say "thank you" to the two officers who sacrificed their lives to keep our community safe.

Officer Morelli and Officer Joering weren't heroes just because they lost their lives, it's because of the way they lived their lives. As I heard stories about them I found out that they loved their families just as much as I love mine. The reason that my teachers are heroes to me is because they are determined, courageous, kind, and give so much of their time and energy to help their students. They help when needed and challenge me to try my hardest in life. I think that heroes aren't just police officers, firefighters, or the military. What I think a hero is, is a person in your life that has an impact and means something to you.

Heroes. A hero can be any average person. I learned that there are heroes all around me every day. Some heroes can be a normal person like you or me. Anyone can be your hero, it's all up to YOU.

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