Congratulations to these young folks for submitting the winning entries! This year’s theme was, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” And let’s just say, we heard about plenty of nail-biting scenarios from all the young writers. Our judges had a hard task in choosing a winner and runner-up for each grade. Thanks to all those who entered for your creative and diverse pieces.

4th Grade Winner

Gabriella Berger,

Serene Hills Elementary


“Ahhhh!’’ I yelled, “My bikini is frozen!” I was making a snow angel in my bikini!


It all started when my friends and I were on vacation, in a hot tub, even though there was snow falling, playing truth or dare. “I pick dare,” I said very bravely. “Ok,” said one of my friends named Sarina. “I dare you to make a snow angel… in your bikini!”  “Oh No!” I thought.


My friends really wanted me to do it, so I did. I got out into the cold and thought, “Why in the world did I take that dare?” But I did it for my friends. When I stepped out on the ground, with no shoes, the wet and cold snow covered my feet, but I kept going.  When I got to a good spot, I started to sit, my butt shivered and I took a deep breath. It felt like I was sitting on a giant ice cube. My back froze as I laid upon the ice. I was so very cold. My whole body shivered like an earthquake. I started doing jumping jacks in the snow. When I got up out of the snow, it was starting to get fun, so, I laid back down and did 10 more jumping jack-snow angels in the snow until I was tired and could do no more.


“That was fun!” I said when I got up. I joined my friends in the hot tub and started to thaw. We played again until one of the parents said it was time to go to bed. So that’s how I made a snow angel in…my… bikini. Would I do it again?




4th Grade Runner-up

Spandana Palyam,

Harmony School of Science


Have you ever thought you were the most amazing genius in the world for a second? And once you finished your idea, you are like boo-hoo, this was a waste of time and all I have got left from this idea was a mess to clean up?



Well, I bet you’re thinking whoever thought of this idea was definitely not a genius, but what if I tell you that I am genuinely that genius.


It all started out like a regular day. My friend Chandra was bored. I got an idea. “Hey! Want to do a science experiment?” I asked eagerly. Chandra was interested. We got to work. We decided to do the old baking soda and vinegar experiment but a little differently. We thought of adding see through slime that I made at summer camp. I didn’t know the chemicals used to make this slime. Chandra and I wanted to see how they would react with baking soda and vinegar. I sprinted down the rough basement steps to ask my aunt for permission.


We quickly gathered our materials and got to work. I opened the container that had slime and placed it on the concrete. I knew this was a great idea.


“Would you like to have the honor of putting the ingredients in my friend?” I asked Chandra.


“You pour the vinegar and I will pour baking soda,” Chandra replied.


3…2…1… We both poured our ingredients, but all the slime did was puff up a little. I grew restless. I picked up the container, screwed on the cap and shook as hard as

I could. No more than 4 seconds, half the slime went on my shirt and backfired on the hot concrete.


I guess that idea seemed good at the time, but in the end, not so much.


5th Grade Winner

Astrid Gothard,

Barton Hills Elementary


It seemed like a good idea at the time when I was a five year old and going through a phase of stealing, tricking and bullying kids just to get their stuff. I committed my worst crime yet when I tried to trick my little sister, Rosemary.


I was so incredibly jealous of a small bird stuffed animal my sister had just received for her birthday. I had recently gotten in trouble for stealing, so I decided to trick my sister into thinking that Birdy, the bird stuffed animal, wanted to be with me more.


Late at night, I tiptoed out of bed and started to write a note:


Dear Rosemary, you are a good girl, but sometimes you can be bad. Your sister Ira is much nicer than you, so I want to be HER stuffed animal. Give me to Ira. Love, Birdy


I left the note on Rosemary’s chair, and went to bed.


The next morning I woke to the sound of screaming. I rushed out of my bedroom and saw Rosemary in the kitchen yelling, “Birdy thinks I’m bad!”


Mom glared when she saw me, and I knew she had seen right through my plot. Eventually Rosemary forgave me, and I finished my extra chores that I had to do as punishment. I never, ever, tried tricking my sister again.


5th Grade Runner-up

Timothy Meckel,

Barton Hills Elementary


Okay, okay. It wasn’t my greatest idea yet, but it felt like the water almost pulled me in. It was just like any other day, but I was feeling adventurous, so I decided to attempt a daredevil move. I was going to do the unthinkable, I was going to pull off a stunt no one had ever pulled off before. I was going to jump off my roof into the pool and catch it all on video so I could brag to everyone I know.


My friend Colby was filming, and I had about half a dozen friends watching me.


It sounds like such a great idea, right! But sadly, this wasn’t like some scene in a James Bond movie. More like a 10-year-old kid making a freefall, and missing the pool by about 7 feet. I know, talk about pathetic. That stupid move cost me two weeks in the hospital, a broken leg and the nickname “Superman.”


Flying is no easy thing. Now, I treat even grackles with respect.


Our judges wanted to distinguish one more young writer as the most creative in the bunch. Honorable Mention goes to Charlie Mounce, a 5th grader at Barton Hills Elementary!

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