WDSE announces essay, poster contest winnersIf you go The awards ceremony is at 2 p.m. today at Marshall School in Duluth. Poster winners will be displayed and first-place essay winner Joey Chmelik will read his essay.
Sheryl Jensen - PBS 8/31 WDSE/WRPT is pleased to announce the revival of the Authors and Artists contest for the 2012-13 school year. For many years, PBS held an annual photography, art and essay contest for high school students throughout the viewing area. Thousands of dollars in scholarships, special recognition ceremonies and media coverage helped to make the contest a special event for area students and one that the station was proud to sponsor.
This year, the artistic part of the competition was held for second- through fifth-graders in the station’s viewing area. The students were asked to submit a poster “advertising” their favorite book to encourage others to read the book.
The essay component of the competition was reinstated for high school students (grades 9-12) with the designated topic: “Select a creative work — a novel, a film, a poem, a musical piece, a painting, or other work of art — that has influenced the way you view the world and the way you view yourself. Discuss the work and its effect on you.”
Cash scholarships and prizes will be awarded to the winners during a ceremony at 2 p.m. today in Marshall School, 1215 Rice Lake Road in Duluth. The winning posters will be displayed and the student with the first-place essay, Joey Chmelik, will read his piece.
Author Joy Morgan Dey and illustrator Nikki Johnson will demonstrate the techniques used to do the paintings for their book “Agate: What Good is a Moose?” and young adult author Margi Preus will speak about the writing process and her latest work, “Shadow on the Mountain.”
Judges for the Authors and Artists contest were: Annie Dugan, Duluth Art Institute, Free Range Film Festival; Crystal Pelkey, Duluth Play Ground director, artist; Tami LaPole Edmunds, artist/owner, Art in the Alley Stores; Kate Horvath, Duluth Playhouse education director; Terry Millikan, artist, Lizzards Gallery; and Richard Hansen, Prove Gallery, Duluth Superior Film Fest.
A panel of area English teachers and college professors read and judged the essays.
Sheryl Jensen is a WDSE/SRP board member and essay contest chairwoman.
ESSAY | FIRST PLACE
'Of Hobbits and Hill Climbing'
Hardships are something we all encounter, whether it’s defending your existence against a redoubtable enemy or writing an essay for English class. Struggles, both internal and external, can bring out the best (or worst) in all of us. If it weren’t for our struggles, we’d never get a glimpse of perseverance and determination in their purest, most agonizing forms.
A great work of art that skillfully exhibits both horror and happiness is one of my favorite stories, “The Lord of the Rings,” by J.R.R. Tolkien. As well as being highly mysterious and entertaining, with its scenes of adventure and talking trees, it also became apparent that Tolkien had modeled the War of the Ring after World War I, in which he had been a soldier, as well as World War II. The dark lord Sauron’s lust for dominion over all Middle Earth is tied with Nazi Germany, as is a hobbit from the idyllic Shire with a farm boy from rural England.
Parallels between the struggles of our world and theirs are so numerous, that for me, “The Lord of the Rings” has become an allegorical look at the first half of the 20th century, cleverly altering my view of mankind’s history. After all, Tolkien himself admitted, “I didn’t create Middle Earth. I rediscovered it.”
However, effort in the face of tremendous adversity appears much more frequently in situations smaller than the world scale. One of the main characters in “The Lord of the Rings,” a hobbit named Frodo Baggins, encounters such a struggle when he steps up to bring the ring of power into the heart of Mordor, Sauron’s dark kingdom, and destroys it in the fires of Mount Doom. This bizarre and dangerous fantasy escapade seems overwhelming to poor Frodo at first, a feeling that all but goes away toward the climax, when he finds the strength in him to take the final step.
As a cross country runner, Frodo and I can find common ground when it comes to adversity. Through grueling periods of meets, strength routines, and hill-climbing sessions, I’ll occasionally question, like Frodo, why on Middle Earth I’m doing this. The answer comes with success. Achievement decorates people with a great sense of pride. Acknowledgement is the best kind of reward, whether it’s by a chevron on a letter jacket or a standing ovation in Minas Tirith.
Hardships are intrinsically human, but they’re also relevant to elves, dwarves and hobbits. Through their struggles, the characters in “The Lord of the Rings” have given me a dramatized picture of myself and the world I live in.
When I look at this image, I see an Earth set aflame by war, power and greed, as well as a small person running half-naked up a hill. By means of subversive comparison and heroic inspiration, “The Lord of the Rings” has influenced my view of both society and myself. Tolkien rediscovered Middle Earth. All we need now is someone over there to rediscover us.
JOEY CHMELIK, grade 11, Cook County High School
ESSAY | SECOND PLACE
'Tuesdays with Morrie'
At the end of the book “Tuesdays with Morrie,” Morrie says to Mitch, “As long as we can love each other, and remember that feeling of love we had, we can die without ever really going away. All the love you created is still there.”
Morrie is absolutely right. Death is usually the hardest part of life, but a person’s life doesn’t end when their breathing does. The person will live on through the love that was spread throughout their lifetime.
I started reading Mitch Albom’s book, “Tuesdays with Morrie,” a few weeks after my mom passed away. She had brain cancer, and it had spread to her spine. The cancer slowly took away her motor control, much like Morrie’s disease. I was lucky enough to be able to spend the last weeks with her, and to share lots of love together with her and my dad and brother. When she passed away, I was lost.
I am still finding my way, but after I read “Tuesdays with Morrie,” I became more accepting of death. Everyone must face death eventually, and coping with death is a human experience. Morrie faces death with grace and not much fear. He accepts his fate, but doesn’t give up on life.
Reflecting on my mother’s death, I realize that she did the same. She never had much time to give up on life. Even facing brain cancer, she continued to live and love as much as she could. I hope one day, when I face death myself, I will have the grace and integrity that my mother and Morrie had.
Morrie spoke a lot about love and about finally accomplishing something of worth, achieving dreams today, instead of putting them off until tomorrow. His advice about living a meaningful live really resonated with me.
Before my mom’s death, I would wish to be in the next stage of my life. I wasn’t living in the present. But now, after losing my mom and reading this book, I know that living a life full of love and respect is the only way I can live. I no longer take my life for granted. I enjoy the little pleasures in my life, and I am thankful for all the opportunities I have been given. I cherish the great relationships I still have with my family, especially my dad and brother.
I am so grateful to have had a mother as wonderful as mine was. She was a strong lady with purpose to her life. I will always strive to be like her, to create something with purpose and meaning in my life. But, most of all, I will live a life of love.
As Morrie frankly puts it, “Love each other or die.” As I go forward into the rest of my life, I will always remember the lessons that Morrie has passed on. “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.”
JENNA THOMFORDE, grade 12, North Woods High School, second place.
ESSAY | THIRD PLACE
‘My Uncle’s Bustle’
People consider art to be different things, whether it’s a painting, sculpture or musical piece. I am not an art person, so I usually don’t understand a piece enough for me to hold much interest. Perhaps it’s because I don’t understand the art of other people’s culture. I do understand my own, though. Although Native American culture, in general, is beautiful, there is one particular piece that stands out to me most: my uncle’s bustle.
A bustle is the main, circular piece that is worn on the lower back of a male traditional dancer. It is made of the wing feathers of an eagle. The feathers are placed in chronological order of the way the eagle flies. When in the circle, the eagle is still flying. A bustle represents an eagle, the sacred, spiritual being of most Native American cultures.
In my culture, you can make your own bustle or it can be made for you by somebody else. Whoever makes it is told through a dream what colors to use. When my uncle’s bustle was made for him, despite the beauty of the feathers, the man who made it dreamt about the colors maroon, gold, and blue. To the naked eye, this color combination may seem odd, but the reason behind these colors makes it significant.
Last year, the former Orr and Cook schools combined into North Woods, which I currently attend. Orr’s school colors were blue and gold, and Cook’s were maroon and gold. Together, these colors make up the colors on my uncle’s bustle.
When my uncle told me the story behind his bustle, instant chills covered my body, for I knew then that it was a sign. He explained to me that the man who made his bustle told him, “I don’t know why I was told to use these colors, but it’ll come to you why.”
A year later, our two local schools merged. That’s when my uncle knew that, by fate, he would be one of the people to help the kids and communities get along. As one of the people highly against the merging of our schools, I needed any help I could get.
It wasn’t until after the story of my uncle’s bustle that I realized it helped heal me. The result of the merged schools turned out fine.
To this day, my uncle is still a recognized helper. There is no doubt that the art of his bustle had an effect on me. It not only helped take away my negative feelings, but it also influenced the way I view the world. It proved that things happen for a reason. It embraces change.
Maybe our schools were meant to combine. Who knows? What I can conclude now is that there is a story behind everything. Just like how there is a story behind every other piece of art, there is a story behind my uncle’s bustle that will stay with me for a lifetime.
KENDA BENNER, grade 12, North Woods High School, third place.
ESSAY | HONORABLE MENTION
'Here Comes the Sun'
The first time I heard the song “Here Comes the Sun,” I cried. They were not tears of sadness, but of pure joy and understanding. No other song has ever evoked such powerful emotions from me. The lyrics and the music flow together as if they were truly meant to be, and they make a combination that has a simple yet deep meaning.
To me, this song portrays the sun as a constant reassurance because of the steady lyric “It’s all right,” which repeats throughout the piece. After hearing this song, I look up at the sun often to feel the light and watchful presence of it. It’s comforting to know the sun has shined down on every person who has ever lived and has given people light through the best times and the worst.
The most lovely parts of “Here Comes the Sun” are the sections where the contrast between lyrics is so stark. In the first verse, the song says, “It’s been a long cold lonely winter, it feels like years since it’s been here,” giving a sense of desolation and hopelessness. Then, the exquisite melody continues later with “I feel that ice is slowly melting,” and “The smiles returning to their faces,” signaling the return of sun.
I love the sudden change of mood in these sections. The words fit like the pieces of a puzzle, and once they are put together, they form an image that is unexpectedly beautiful.
These lyrics are so true because in life, the road can be long and difficult, but the sun will always come out again. It has never failed to rise in the morning and has always emerged from the storm in the end.
When I hear this song, I remember that everyone sees the same sun. It shines on our troubles and the things we love. In a way, that makes me feel very similar to the rest of the people in the world, but very different as well. The problems I have to face and the people I love are unique compared to everyone else, but in the big picture, people can be surprisingly alike.
The sun is there to watch over us and remind us that life will continue on through dark times. I know it is always darker somewhere else, and I am extremely fortunate to be living under the sun with the people I love.
The song “Here Comes the Sun” has made me see these things more clearly. In the scope of time and life, my impact is very small, but I am lucky to have the sun shine down on me and feel exactly what the song says: It’s all right.
MAIA KILLERUD, grade 12, Willow River High School, honorable mention.
ESSAY | HONORABLE MENTION
No one expected me to succeed in life. Likewise, no one expected Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger to succeed with his life. However, through overcoming labels and obstacles, both of us have lived out our dreams. I would like to explain how the film “Rudy” has helped me succeed just as Rudy succeeded.
Both Rudy and I have had labels given to us that try to prevent our dreams from becoming realities. For Rudy, he was given the moniker of being a “dreamer.” His “dream” to play football often earned the ire of his teachers, who told him that that if they handed out grades for daydreaming, “You’d be getting an A.” Noted for his “5-foot-nothin’, 100-and-nothin’” frame by the groundskeeper Fortune, Rudy was at first unable to get accepted into the prestigious University of Notre Dame and its esteemed football program.
Likewise, I have been given the moniker of being “special.” Although I am not “autistic” nor have I ever developed any symptoms associated with the spectrum, it is because of my misdiagnosis that I have been given a moniker as debilitating as “special” and “autistic.” Although I myself haven’t used any of these labels, those who hear the “autistic” moniker I’ve been given tell me that because of being special, I shouldn’t succeed in life, much less in my dreams of excelling in academic clubs.
Teachers often times were pessimistic of allowing an “autistic” student into the club/class, just as students and my own parents were as well. Both Rudy and I have had to overcome these labels against all odds and succeed.
By overcoming obstacles in life, both Rudy and I have been able to succeed in our dreams. Rudy overcame his obstacle by suiting up in his last game in a Notre Dame uniform. Tackling Georgia Tech Quarterback Rudy Allen, Rudy Ruettiger was carried off the field by his teammates, succeeding in his goal of playing for Notre Dame.
Likewise, I, too, overcame my obstacle. Every Thursday, I, as captain of my Forensics team, can guide others into developing life-long public speaking skills that I, too, had to overcome. And when April of next year rolls around, I can be “carried off the field” by my “teammates,” knowing that they earned gold and silver because of my hard efforts.
The movie “Rudy” has shaped the way I look at myself when it comes to overcoming my labels and obstacles. In life, Rudy and I were given labels that often times ruined the image we desired. For Rudy, it was his dream of playing football that was marred by being a “dreamer.” For me, my dream to excel in academics was almost ruined by labels of being “special” and “autistic.” Both of us, however, overcame our obstacles, succeeding either on the football field or in the academic circle.
My successes are dedicated to those who told me that succeeding in my dreams would be impossible.
DYLAN JOHNSON, grade 12, Superior High School, honorable mention.
FIRST-PLACE POSTER | FIFTH GRADE: JIMMY ROLFE, NORTH SHORE COMMUNITY SCHOOL, "CITY OF EMBERS" BY JEANNE DUPRAU
Other fifth-grade winners were: second place, Sydney Wegler, North Star Academy (DECS), “The Sisters Grimm” by Michael Buckley; third place, Margaretta Huchthausen, home school, “Ivan and the Moscow Circus” by Myrna Grant; and honorable mention, Melissa Hill, North Star Academy, “Dark Lord” by Jamie Thompson and Dirk Lloyd.
FIRST-PLACE POSTER | FOURTH GRADE: KELLIE MARTIN, CHURCHILL ELEMENTARY, "SHOE SHINE GIRL" BY CLYDE ROBERT BULLA
Other fourth-grade winners were: second place, George Rolfe, North Shore Community School, “Serpent’s Shadow” by Rick Riordan; third place, Elise Carlson, Mother of Divine Grace, “Beorn the Proud” by Madeline Polland; and honorable mention, Gracie Meagher, Churchill Elementary, “Confectionately Yours: Save the Cupcake!” by Lisa Papademetriou.
FIRST-PLACE POSTER | THIRD GRADE: JASPER TIMM, NORTH STAR ACADEMY (DECS), "MAGIC TREE HOUSE" BY MARTY POPE OSBORNE
Other third-grade winners were: second place, Annika Wennberg, St. James Catholic School, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick; third place, Brendan Lampela, North Shore Community School, “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk” by Dave Pilkey; and honorable mention, Dominic Johnson, Churchill Elementary, “Magic Tree House” by Mary Pope Osborne.
FIRST-PLACE POSTER | SECOND GRADE: SAVANNAH ROY, ST. JAMES CATHOLIC SCHOOL, "RUSSELL'S CHRISTMAS MAGIC" BY ROB SCOTTON
Other second-grade winners were: second place, Libby Jolma, Marengo Valley School, “Junie B. Jones” by Barbara Park; third place, Jordan Peterson, Marquette Catholic School, “Sharks” (no author given); and honorable mention, Owen Erickson, South Ridge School, “There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed Some Leaves” by Lucille Coladro.