Vista Middle School eighth grader Jessica Jimenez-Arroyo won $10,000 for herself and her school with her poem entered in Scholastics's "I Love to Read Student Creativity Contest."
Gail Smedley, her teacher, writes in the press release, "Jessica is a student who takes her education seriously; she loves reading as much as some people love football. She is a very creative, unique spirit, and it's wonderful to see that still valued in today's society."
Entries were judged on content, creativity, clarity of thought, heartfelt expression and execution.
According to the release, Jessica said writing the poem came easy to her. She had the idea in her head and it just flowed out onto paper. She loves to read books; not on an iPod or Kindle, but real hard-copy books. Her favorite book is "Stargirl" by author Jerry Spinelli. Jessica plans to attend Ferndale High School next year.
Vista Middle School plans to use its $10,000 award to buy books for the library, offer creative, artistic speakers at assemblies for the entire school; and provide off campus field trips to performances and museums.
Here's the winning entry:
She Sails Through the Morning Sky
She sails through the morning sky.
Euphoric giggles fill the air.
So close to heaven, her hands reach out to the clouds.
The sun envelopes her in its hug.
She swings her legs, hair flying in the windthe
world, one infinite moment of joy.
I close the book.
Her mother's yelling.
She tolerates it.
Frustration screams through me.
The first slap.
My eyes feel the pain.
I close the book.
The dog's alone, starved, roaming cold streets.
Tears form in my eyes, won't last another day.
A girl notices.
And my heart fills with hope.
She smiles sadly and walks away.
The dog whines and leaves,
his legs barely sustaining themselves,
wounds deeper than skin.
Despair tinges my thoughts.
She runs back with a blanket;
picks him up,
"I'll give you a new home."
I close the book.
My sister asks me,
"Why do you love books?"
rush into my head,
a neverending tornado.
"I love reading books.
because they unfold the world to me,
give me emotions and lessons,
that I'll never experience otherwise.
They let me live in a dream of my own creations."
WESTERN STUDENTS WIN FULBRIGHTS
Eight Western Washington University graduates and students have received Fulbright Scholarships this year, a record for the institution and more than doubling its previous best of three, according to a press release.
Fulbright scholars, funded by the U.S. government, study, teach, conduct research and exchange ideas in other countries.
"For many years I've thought that the best Western students could compete with anyone in the country," said Tom Moore, director of Western's Fellowship Office. "This Fulbright success confirms it."
No other university won more than six fellowships this year. Schools such as Dartmouth, New York University, Brandeis and Tufts won eight in 2012.
Four of WWU's Fulbright winners are or did major in German. Western's German program was earlier honored by the American Association of Teachers of German as being one of two schools in the country to be designated a German Center of Excellence.
Western's Fulbright scholars will go to Germany, Romania, Brazil, Mexico and Austria.
Two of the winners, Valeria Fisher and Elani Koogle, are from Bellingham.
Valeria graduated in March with majors in sociology and German and will go to Germany to teach English.
She will also continue work on a project she started at Western about the glorification of reckless driving in car commercials. Fisher plans to compare German car commercials to American ones.
Elani graduated from Western in June 2012, will also teach English in Germany.
Outside of her teaching duties, she will translate Ivan Doig's "The Whistling Season" from English to German. Once she is done, she will share the translation with native German speakers to learn different techniques for translating literary works.
Other Western Fulbright winners are Rebecca Donaldson of Marysville, Matthew Osborne of Tacoma, Andrew Lapidus of Vancouver, Hannah Wolf of Juneau, Ariel Morgan of Santa Fe, N.M., and Olivia Mothershead of Kent.
MISSION REACHES ELEVATOR GOAL
The Lighthouse Mission as declared success in its elevator fund campaign, according to Ron Buchinski, executive director.
The mission held several events to pay for an elevator in its building at 910 West Holly St., including a banquet, motorcycle ride and Kings Men of Song concert. Local businesses also contributed to the fund.
The elevator will help disabled guests, some of whom are veterans, move between the downstairs cafeteria downstairs and the bedrooms upstairs.
The initial fundraising goal for the elevator was $200,000 and Ron said "this was enough money to make us feel comfortable in signing the contract, but we still have additional expenses we will have to cover." Additional expenses include about $10,000 for the elevator and sales tax on the project.
Construction is planned for this summer.
ROTARY AIDS HOME PORT CENTER
The Home Port Learning Center sends its thanks to the Bellingham Bay Rotary for their $1,000 donation, according to Emilie Regan, office manager.
The club has been a long-standing supporter of the school, Emilie said.
Home Port Learning Center has provided academic, vocational and work readiness skills for Whatcom County at-risk youth and those already in the justice system of for 19 years. Learn more about it at homeportlc.com.
Out and About runs Mondays in The Bellingham Herald.
Julie Shirley is the Executive Editor of The Bellingham Herald. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2261.