We received many powerful essays. Though not every participant can win the contest, we'd like to share some excerpts that caught our eye.
"Everybody was telling me that I was a "scaredy cat" not to fight. And since a lot of kids had told her that it (the accident) was on purpose, we fought. We fought in the back of a building.
When I read "Why My Dad's Going Green" in YES! Magazine, it made me think about how two people distance themselves from each other. And so I thought of this fight. Our beliefs can trouble our relationships sometimes."
—Vanesa Lopez, John Muir Middle School, Los Angeles, CA
"My dad and I began working on a 1,000-piece Lego ship set. It took us three weeks to build our magnificent, huge ship. We were so proud, and I couldn't wait for it to be finished. One day, my little brother got mad and destroyed it. I stared at the scattered, broken pieces lying there. In a way, this was happening to our family."
—Nia H. Spring, Global Village School, Bason, NY
"The kitchen island that I was perched upon suddenly felt like a real island amid an infinite sea of ideologies—one that my father and I were not prepared to cross. Looking back, I identify this conflict of personal paradigms, and the ensuing lack of communication, as a microcosm of the greater problems that affect our world today. It seems we would rather peek out over our defensive walls than take the time to build a boat."
– Kyra Hoskins, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC
"In the end I realize that I don't mind being referred to as an "Oreo" or "white washed" because it shows that I am doing something right—If I exceed expectations of what a black person can accomplish, they (those calling me an "Oreo") can no longer believe what they say about what it means to be a black person in American society."
—Kebron Fikadu, Shoreline Community College, Shoreline, Wash.