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Student Spotlight | 7 Minutes

In the Classroom: Short Story Contest Winners Grades 1-3 & Grades 7-9

In the Classroom: Short Story Contest Winners Grades 1-3 & Grades 7-9

Congratulations to our Short Story Contest Winners! And many thanks to all who participated in our Short Story Contest. We are pleased to announce the winners of the first two categories. Check out the In the Classroom section in this month’s and next month’s Epistula to read the winning entries.

Here are the winners of 1-3rd grade, and 7-9th grade categories:

Short Story Contest Winner, Grades 1-3: Nella Maruszewski

“Beep! Beep! Beep!” went the alarm. I groaned and covered my face with a pillow. I did not want to get up for school today. Today was the Science Fair and I was not looking forward to presenting my project. I pulled the pillow off of my face expecting the sun to stream in from my window, but instead outside was pitch black! That was weird, I thought. I ran to the window. It looked like the middle of the night except for the time on the clock said 7:00 a.m. The sun didn’t rise today…

Suddenly, I panicked and then I stampeded to Mommy and Daddy’s room. They were still asleep. I woke them up saying, “Mommy! Daddy! It is pitch black outside, but my alarm is saying 7:00 a.m.” Mommy and Daddy got up from their bed and looked out their window. They said, “Hmm, that is so weird. What in the world is happening?” Daddy went to turn on the television to find out what was keeping the sky dark. The weatherman said that a huge hurricane had suddenly appeared in the Dog Bay which is right beside our house! My sister and I screamed loudly in terror. We had to run. Each of us grabbed our hiking bags. We only had 20 minutes before the huge waves would come and swoosh us away! I started to grab my clothes, my camping lantern, my sleeping bag, and some food and water bottles. We would need them in the future. I still had some room and some time. I grabbed my picture of my family and my precious Sully doll. I hugged him tightly. We only had 8 minutes left! Fearing we would get hurt, we had to get out of there. Daddy, who is our hero, grabbed everyone even the dog and the cat. We ran to our car. We jumped in and buckled up. Daddy drove amazingly fast to the evacuation route. The military were directing everyone in the right direction. While Daddy was driving, we all prayed to Jesus to protect us and our friends. It was so dark, and it was raining hard. The wind was punching against the cars. Daddy just kept driving. About fifty miles away, we saw a little bit of the sun. We knew we were safe.

Short Story Contest Winner, Grades 7-9: Anya Davies

There was a rotting corpse. Thoughts were sloshing around in my brain like marbles being violently shaken in a wooden box. So many thoughts. Why was there a body? Why couldn’t I smell the literal rotting corpse when I picked up my luggage earlier? Who or what put this in here? I wanted to break down, knees hitting the cold tiles, and cry, but of course I had to persevere through whatever was happening. The last thing I should do is act like I could be guilty.

“Sir.” The officer stared blankly

My silence, which felt so hollow, also filled the small cold room completely.

“Sir I know who you are.”

Hearing her gravelly voice say those words made me focus back to the room and my surroundings.


I turned my head and made eye contact with the officer after hearing my name. I studied her features very quickly, noticing no familiarity to someone I knew.

“What do you mean, you know who I am?”

I managed to spit out words, despite my shaky voice and the lump of coal in my throat.

“Bennett, sit down.” She waved her arm toward the chair in the corner.

I didn’t want to comply, but I wanted answers, and I assumed she had them. So I sat on the brown metal chair, with a soft plastic cushion.

“I know you’re extremely confused, but I’m going to help you get out of this situation. I just need you to follow everything I say, and instruct.”

“What. Who are you? What’s happening?” I blurted

I knew that I had no other options, mostly because the circumstances were extremely odd, and because it was very easy to be charged with murder, even if I had no relations with the corpse laying in my luggage.

“There really is no time for explaining, come with me Bennett.” She commanded

I listened, and followed her to the plane runway. There was a smaller plane waiting outside for what I assumed was for us. She led me onboard, and sat me down beside her. We sat in silence the whole way there. Once I felt the plane landing, she looked at my eyes. I felt a strong feeling of dread come over me, as if this was some awful foreshadowing. Ironically as if there hadn’t already been enough of that. We stepped outside, she grabbed the suitcase and waited for me to get off so that I could walk behind her. From here I remember starting to lose touch of reality again, I felt like I was watching myself from above. Like my actions were being performed by a puppeteer. I came back to the present once we were in the car. It had a dark black leather interior and smelled brand new. The officer was driving and I was in the backseat.

“You awake now huh?” She asked me

“What.” I replied.

“You looked totally zoned out on the way here.”

I was so confused. What did she mean? I remembered walking over to the car, I even looked at her and opened the door, making sure I was getting into the right vehicle. We arrived in a giant parking lot, for a second it looked like it stretched for miles. She parked at the very front. I got out and craned my neck upwards to look at the concrete building which felt like it was peering over me, almost like it was watching me. There was definitely something watching me. Clouds rolled over, even though there was sun peeking out a few minutes ago. I followed the same officer that was leading me through this entire situation. The automatic doors opened, and we stepped into a gray lobby with high ceilings and a giant chandelier hanging in the middle. We then continued to walk down a long wide hallway, all I could focus on was the sound of our feet against the tiles. Fast paced steps, rushing towards something. What were they rushing towards?

Why wasn’t I anxious? Why was I so okay with not knowing what was happening? We stopped.

“Go into the elevator. Twenty-sixth floor. Fifth door on the left. I’ll meet you.” She ordered.

Listening to her instructions, I stepped into the elevator. Out of all the rooms I was in today, this felt the coldest. I stared up at the mirror-like ceiling, and back down at my feet, also staring at the tile underneath them. There was a loud ding, and the doors opened before me. I stepped outside. My slow body soaked in the surroundings as I looked around at the hallway which was the same as the one on the first floor. Yet this one felt eerier.

“Fifth door on the left. Fifth door on the left. Fifth door on the left.” I repeated to myself.

I opened the door. There was a man with a shotgun. He had it pointed at me, and the suitcase was behind him. I could feel my breath get heavier as I panicked. I glanced towards my left and my right, thinking, trying to plan an escape. Why was he trying to kill me? I looked down and noticed I was holding a briefcase. I suddenly felt my left arm sink, noticing the weight of it. Then I looked back at the man. He fired. Straight at my chest. It was planned. Colors started to change and my vision blurred.

I could see a black interior, a door closing on me, I heard wheels rolling beneath me and two men speaking in deep muffled voices. I was put onto what sounded like a carousel at an airport. My vision started blurring again and the colors from before were more vibrant. I heard my name being called. And I felt again, like I was out of my body, watching from a different perspective.