Fall 2011: "Bridging Differences" Writing Competition Literary Gems

Exceptional excerpts from essays submitted to the Fall 2011 YES! National Student Writing Competition
Sheppard Family.jpg

Thomas Sheppard in 1988 with Kate and her baby brother Alex. 


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.

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