This was an insanely hard choice. Can I tell you how amazing you all are? I never imagined that there would be 10 entries for this contest – let alone 50+. I think it’s a clear sign of how much we – writers and readers – love writing and reading.
We love them so much that we’re willing to take the time to write an essay with no guarantee of reward. We love them so much that we’re willing to share personal stories and details out loud with this little community.
One of the coolest things was that I got many emails and Twitter messages from you all remarking on how amazing the stories were, how you were all enjoying reading them. I was too.
I love that you all got to read each other’s writing. I love that I got to read your writing!
But, a winner had to be picked (which doesn’t make the rest of you losers). The judges have spoken – I had to stay out of it completely because I started to cry every time I thought about saying no to one of you.
Here’s the winning entry from Katy M:
I feel there were so many people who contributed to my development as a person and a writer, but I’ll choose Miss Pierce as being the most influential. Miss Pierce taught my seventh and eighth grade honors english classes.
The very first day of my seventh grade year I was petrified. I was in a brand new school and I was twelve. New people, new classes, new teachers and a new pre-teen obsession with self made me feel like I was under a microscope and I was afraid to do anything to set me apart from others. All I wanted was to fit in.
Thankfully, Miss Pierce was not going to let that happen. The moment I walked into her classroom I felt like I was at home. The chairs and desks were set up in a big oval. Poems, prose aned pictures of authors hung on the wall. At one end of the oval sat Miss Pierce, all dressed in black, at her desk covered in books. The first words Miss Pierce spoke after the bell rang have stayed with me all of these years. She said, “I only have one rule in my room. You must be yourself. I will not tolerate less from any of you.”
Suddenly, my tense mouth cracked into a smile. I felt the weight of the eyes of my peers lift from my body as my backpack fell to the floor. I felt safe and calm and I didn’t ever want to leave her class.
Over the two years I was fortunate enough to have her as a teacher, Miss Pierce taught me to write from that inner place I was afraid to acknowlede even existed previously. Some of the best moments in my childhood were reading books from her reading list. She introduced me to Faulkner, elliot and Thoreau. I learned how to construct a sentence and how to dissect a plot. Above all of this, Miss Pierce taught me the most important thing about character development was developing my character.
I will be forever grateful to Miss Pierce for opening me up to literature, writing and to myself. Thank you for allowing me to remember her tonight.
Congrats Katy!!! I hope this nook somehow gets you some nookie. And thank you to EVERYONE. You all make me really, really happy.